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Modi sticks to guns in Varanasi: 'Tough decisions' on CAA, Art 370 to stay

PM sees tourism a key driver of $5 trn economy goal, says projects totalling Rs 25,000 cr have either been completed or are underway in holy city

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (ANI)

Prime Minister today asserted that the ‘tough decisions’ taken by his government, including the revocation of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will not be rolled back.

“We have taken tough decisions as they were imperative in the interest, and did not buckle even under external pressure,” Modi said addressing a public meeting in his parliamentary constituency during a day’s visit.

He observed these issues were left pending by the previous regimes for narrow political considerations and vested interests.

“I want to assure you that we were resolute in our decisions and will remain resolute in future as well,” Modi said adding his government will continue to work by keeping the welfare of the poor and interests of the nation on priority.

Last month, union home minister Amit Shah, at a Lucknow rally, had also clarified the Centre would not revoke CAA under any circumstances, and blamed the opposition parties for peddling lies for vote bank politics.

Meanwhile, Modi started his address by greeting the people in Bhojpuri and invoking river Ganga to wax eloquent on as a global religious, spiritual, knowledge and tourism centre.

He said development and infrastructure projects totalling Rs 25,000 crore had either been completed or were underway in Varanasi, which would benefit the entire region in Uttar Pradesh and other Eastern states.

“Tourism is an important element in the contemporary talks around the $5 trillion economy target,” Modi said adding India had huge untapped potential for natural and heritage tourism. He said and other religious-cultural centres were being developed according to their specific requirements and intervention of technology.

The PM said the work on beautification of Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple and the proposed Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya had also started.

Modi said Union Budget 2020-21 had promised to expend Rs 100 trillion on infrastructure projects, which would largely benefit the smaller towns in the country. He said budget constraints or lack of political willpower would never occur in his government to impede the progress or speed of development projects.

He referred to the various central government schemes aimed at community development and helping India become self reliant viz Make in India, Startup India, Mudra, PM Kisan, Ayushman etc.

Under Startup India, 26,000 startups were registered in India, which helped tens of thousands of youth get jobs, he claimed.

Meanwhile, Modi unveiled various development and infrastructure projects worth over Rs 1,200 crore during his visit to his constituency.

Earlier, he inaugurated Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre and unveiled a 63 foot metal statue of one of the leading ideologues of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He also participated in the centenary celebrations of Shri Jagadguru Vishwaradhya Gurukul and released translated version of Shri Siddhant Shikhamani Granth in 19 languages.

He also dedicated to the nation a 430 bed super speciality government hospital and a 74 bed psychiatry hospital at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

The PM flagged off the IRCTC’s Maha Kaal Express through a video link. The country’s first overnight private train journey will connect the 3 reverred ‘jyotirling’ pilgrim centres of Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar.

Modi is slated to inaugurate ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ exhibition at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Hastakala Sankul and interact with buyers and artisans from different countries including USA, England and Australia.

First Published: Sun, February 16 2020. 15:58 IST