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Modi trains guns on unscrupulous forces

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a scathing attack on a section of NGOs and unscrupulous traders for attempting to defame his government at a farmers' rally here.

By Subhashish Mohanty and Subrat Mohanty
  • Published 22.02.16
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the crowd as Dharmendra Pradhan (extreme left) and Jual Oram look on and Modi fans at the rally in Bargarh on Sunday. Telegraph picture

Baragarh, Feb. 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a scathing attack on a section of NGOs and unscrupulous traders for attempting to defame his government at a farmers' rally here.

Addressing the rally, Modi said: "There is a section of people who cannot digest the fact that a chaiwala (tea seller) has become the Prime Minister. Hence, they are conspiring to bring down my government. But I will not succumb to their pressure."

Without taking any names or citing specific instances, Modi said: "After I started streamlining the urea distribution process, its black-marketing has almost stopped. After 2014, no chief minister or member of Parliament has lodged any complaint about shortage of urea in their areas. This has upset a section of traders who were indulging in black-marketing."

He said, "After we came to power, we started distributing neem-coated urea to avoid pilferage. And, we were able to stop the routing of urea to chemical factories, as had been the practice in the past. This angered those running the chemical factories."

He indicated that these traders had joined hands with a group of disgruntled NGOs to defame his government which had sought to uncover the source of their funds. "The moment we started asking for accounts, they ganged up against us," said Modi, who began his speech by invoking Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the region. He peppered his speech with references to the great sons of west Odisha, including Gangadhar Meher, Surendra Sai, Bhim Bhoi and Birsa Munda.

At a time when the country is fighting for its right to dissent in light of the incident at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, Modi asserted that he was determined to stop unscrupulous elements from looting the country.

"I have a duty to cure the country of this disease. People, who have elected me have a right to know where the money comes from and how they utilise it," he said.

Modi, who arrived in the state in his capacity as a BJP leader, also took a dig at chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who had addressed farmers' gatherings in west Odisha ahead of his rally.

"I must thank the Naveen Patnaik government for generating public awareness about this rally by organising a meeting prior to my visit," he said.

However, much to the disappointment of the state BJP leadership, Modi refrained from announcing any new schemes for Odisha as it was a mere party event. Instead, he highlighted the central government's initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Soil Health Card and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

Modi also urged the gathering to pledge to motivate at least 50 per cent farmers in their villages to opt for Pradhan Manti Fasal Bima Yojana. "Both the state and the central governments should join hands to ensure farmers income double by 2022 when the country will celebrate its 75th year of Independence," he said.

In his unique rhetorical style, Modi said Odisha had the potential to bring about the country's second green revolution. "Odisha has plenty of water and potential for agriculture. The state's youth want change. We should come together and explore the opportunities to usher in a second green revolution from here."

In an attempt to strike a personal chord with the state, Modi said: "When I was the chief minister of Gujarat, Odias in Surat gave me much love. It is this love which brings me frequently to this state."