Agency Varanasi: A day before filing his nomination papers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said while the past five years were about his government making sincere efforts, the next five will be about results. Addressing a meeting here that capped a day which included a massive roadshow and a Ganga `Aarti’, Modi also laid stress on national security. He said a new India gives a befitting reply to terror. In an apparent reference to the attack on a Central Reserve Police Force, the prime minister said, They martyred 40 jawans in Pulwama, we have killed 42 terrorists in that area. He said this is the way his government functions. Modi added that the world backed India in its fight against terror. He also referred to the recent bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, saying innocent people observing Easter had lost their lives. The Prime Minister will file his nomination papers on Friday, seeking a second term in the Lok Sabha from the constituency. Modi said he will not claim that whatever he wished for the constituency had come true during the last five years. But the pace and the direction of its development are right, he said and outlined the work done by his government in the constituency. He said while he is giving details about his government’s work during the last five years, there are some who are not ready to give an account for the 70 years they were in power. He said while the last five years of his government were about making sincere effort, the next five years will be about results. He sought permission from the gathering for filing his nomination again from Varanasi, and said it is Lord Vishawnath’s blessings that he is fortunate to serve Kashi. Earlier, the Prime Minister’s roadshow drew a massive crowd.
Soaring the political temperatures, Modi was joined by BJP President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other senior BJP leaders in the temple town, on a day the Congress ended speculation over its leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra contesting against the Prime Minister by announcing Ajay Rai’s candidature.
“Grateful for the warmth and affection! ” Modi tweeted after the commencement of the 7-KM roadshow, which passed through several parts of the city, including Lanka, Godhalio and Assi areas, amid cheering crowds, wearing saffron-coloured attires and showering rose petals.
Modi started his roadshow with the garlanding of the statue of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.
The Prime Minister, who was wearing a saffron kurta and white pyjama along with a matching saffron scarf, waved at people who lined up on both sides of the road and jostled to get a glimpse of him.
Chants of ‘Modi, Modi’ rent the air as BJP supporters danced to music and the beating of drums in front of huge banners reading ‘mein bhi chowkidar’.
Modi is on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency and is scheduled to file his nomination on Friday in the presence of NDA leaders, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi, who contested from two seats –Varanasi and Vadodra in Gujarat– had defeated AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from here. Congress’ Rai finished third.
Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch and former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan are also expected to be present when Modi files his nomination, BJP had said.
The Congress, however, said Modi’s roadshow as aimed at covering up his failure of fulfilling the promises made to the people there and demanded that he should apologise for “betraying” them.
“Optics are more important than results and that is why the roadshow is being taken out as the resolve of serving the people of Varanasi that Modi ji had taken, the commitment he had shown to purify Ganga Ma, he has been completely unsuccessful in that,” Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak.
The Prime Minister wants that people’s cries get “drowned in today’s noise and show”, she alleged.
Earlier, in Darbhanga Modi defended himself against opposition criticism for raking up the issue of national security during the election campaign, asserting uprooting terrorism is crucial to poverty alleviation. He underlined that national security is an important issue as the money spent on it could be utilised in a better way for the uplift of the poor.
The Prime Minister rejected the Congress’s claim of having waived farmers’ loans in states ruled by it and the promise of replicating the measure across the country, if voted to power.
He alleged that no poor Dalit or Adivasi gained from the loan waiver and only the opposition party’s “chela chapaati” (cronies) enjoyed the benefits.
Modi mocked regional satraps for nursing prime ministerial ambitions even while contesting only 20-40 or as little as eight seats in the case of Karnataka.
“They (the opposition) ask why does Modi keep on talking about terrorism? It is not an issue. The voters understand that national security and terrorism are important issues but these selfish dynasts are unable to realise this simple fact,” he told an election rally in this north Bihar town.
The Prime Minister said elaborate security was not required for VIPs in the past, nor was police deployed in front of places of worship on a scale that is witnessed today.
There was also no need for intensive checking and frisking at railway stations and bus terminuses.
In the last 40 years, he said, the country was forced to spend huge resources for upgrading the security apparatus.
“That money could have been spent on building schools and hospitals for the poor,” he said.
Highlighting the hardship faced by low-ranking personnel in security forces, he said, they come from poor background, and because of the tense situation, they are forced to work non-stop for days together without getting even a wink of sleep.
He said in the event of any lapse, they end up losing their jobs.
“It is in this way that terrorism has made the poor suffer. The money that could have been spent on improving their lives is being spent by the state on purchasing weapons.
“Rooting out terrorism is crucial to alleviation of poverty. This national issue may not be an issue for the Mahamilavati (a motley band of disparate parties) gang, but for New India it is a very big issue. This New India will chase terrorists and destroy their network,” Modi said, evoking loud cheers.
Referring to the ‘Darbhanga module’, often spoken about by counter-terror agencies, Modi said it is because of the mindset of neglecting national security that has brought disrepute to this town.
“But now you have an alert Chowkidar (watchman). No terrorist nor any module is going to survive,” he asserted.
The Prime Minister claimed those demanding proof of Balakot air strikes earlier have changed tack after gauging the public mood and are now training their guns on EVMs.
“They have seen the public mood after three phases of polling in nearly 300 constituencies. Those who were earlier seeking evidence of the air strikes, are now after EVMs,” he said.
Rubbishing the election manifestos of the Congress as dhakosla patra (documents of hypocrisy), Modi said the party had in its 2004 manifesto promised full electrification by 2009 which it failed to keep.
Modi said, while speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort after becoming the prime minister, he had promised that 18,000 villages would be electrified within 1,000 days. “The promise was fulfilled even before that,” he claimed.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan were present at the prime minister’s rally.
In an apparent reference to RJD candidate for the seat Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who had said a few days ago that he could not recite Vande Mataram because of his monotheistic religious beliefs though he had no problem with chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, the prime minister said people should ensure such contestants forfeit their security deposit.
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