Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yesterday his fight was not with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, but against poverty, corruption and the devastation of the northeastern state.
“Gogoiji says that his fight is against me. But I do not have any fight against Gogoiji... We have a tradition here not to fight with the elders but to respect them,” Modi told a massive rally at Borguri in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district, ahead of assembly polls in the state.
He said he has respect for Gogoi, “but I have to fight against poverty, corruption and against the destruction of Assam.”
Gogoi had said earlier this month that the Congress Party’s fight in the forthcoming polls will be against Modi for his wrong policies and injustice towards Assam and other parts of the northeastern region.
The elections will be held in two phases on April 4 and 11.
The prime minister said Assam used to be known as one of India’s richest states after Independence, but has since been reduced to poverty.
“Now Assam is recognised as one of the poorest states in the country. Who is responsible for this transformation from being one of the richest states to a poor state? We were never in power in Assam,” he said while highlighting the development agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.
“The people of Assam are still craving for electricity even after 60 years of Independence. Who is responsible for this?”
Modi said all the problems of 60 years under Congress rule will be solved in five years of BJP rule headed by Sarbananda Sonowal, the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
“I can only see that Assam is going to have a young chief minister after the election,” the prime minister said, appreciating the mammoth gathering of people in Borguri.
He promised the gathering that once a government is formed by the BJP and its alliance partners in Assam, development and progress will follow in the state.
“I want to assure you that if the BJP is voted to power and a government is formed by the party and its allies, kids in the schools will not be taught ‘A’ for apple but ‘A’ for Assam,” Modi said.
“When I became the prime minister I asked government officials to tell me how many villages were there without electricity. They told me that there were 18,000 villages. Out of this about 2,000 are in Assam. We have taken it up immediately and the process is on to electrify 1,000 such villages in Assam while the rest will follow,” Modi said.
Addressing another rally in Bihpuria, the prime minister said his government was taking measures which will not only stop fresh infiltration from Bangladesh but also ensure that the infiltrators in Assam return to their native place.
“The development in Assam has not been equal all these years. While some areas have developed, the state government neglected certain areas. The Assam government always wants the Bangladeshis. They offer golden plates to Bangladeshis but take away whatever the indigenous people have,” said Modi, terming it “criminal negligence”.
“We, in Delhi, are taking such steps which will not only stop fresh infiltration into Assam but will ensure that those infiltrators, who have been living in Assam, have to go back,” he said.
Modi said the people of Assam have already taken a decision to vote for the BJP.
“The Congress has been the main reason for all diseases in the country. We must defeat the Congress this time,” he said.
“Assam has registered the highest incidents of crime against women. However, the Congress is not bothered and their attitude towards these problems and issues have always remained indifferent.”
He also promised to provide houses to each of the poor families in Assam and said the money, which the central government had given to Assam for the housing needs of the people, is yet to be spent by the Congress government.
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