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Modi pitches for security, development as main themes


IANS New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the BJP's poll campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections identifying national security and development as key themes of the party's campaign as he projected himself as a bold and decisive leader who is not afraid of taking tough calls in the country's interest.
Modi addressed rallies at Meerut, Rudrapur and Akhnoor as he made determined attacks on opposition parties and pitched the Lok Sabha election as a fight between "dumdaar" (strong) BJP and a "daagdaar" (corrupt) opposition.
Building on the nationalism narrative of the BJP, he attacked Congress repeatedly for not taking decisive action in the face of terror attacks and slammed it over its record of tackling poverty as he outlined achievements of his government and its thrust on development to create a new India.
Modi repeatedly called himself "chowkidar" getting back at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his "chowkidar chor hai" jibes at him and accused opposition parties of raising questions over India's air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan.
"The country has seen many governments which believed in sloganeering, but for the first time it has seen a decisive government which knows how to fulfil its commitments. Be it land or sky or space, the government of your 'chowkidar' has shown courage to conduct surgical strikes," Modi said at Meerut.
India targeted a terrorist camp at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26 following the Pulwama terror attack and tested Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile on Wednesday with Modi making the announcement himself in a televised address. India had also conducted surgical strikes at terror launch pads in PoK following Uri terror attack.
Modi said that by raising questions over the government's actions, some opposition leaders had become a "hero" in Pakistan.
"People have to decide whether they need a hero of India or a hero of Pakistan. They have to decide whether they need 'saboot' (proof) or 'sapoot' (hero). Those seeking 'saboot' are challenging the 'sapoot'," he said.
Modi said scientists wanted a test to shoot down a satellite in space, but the previous Congress government postponed that decision also.
"Under these 'mahamilaavati' (adulterated) group of leaders, did you see how terrorists flourished? Did you not see incidents of terror from across the country under their rule? So, tell me, can you trust such people?"
Modi said the country had decided to again vote for a BJP government "because here is a decisive government which has delivered on every front".
In his rally at Rudrapur, Modi said if Congress remained in any corner of India, poverty will never go.
The Prime Minister also asked the Congress why its "blood did not boil" when the country was under siege during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
"Should I remain quiet despite terrorist threats? Will people forgive those who give anti-national statements just to become a hero in Pakistan. The message is loud and clear. We will not be scared, but will stand firm."
He accused Congress of being embroiled in defence scams and delaying crucial decisions pertaining to acquisitions.
In his Akhnoor rally, Modi claimed Pakistan is praying that the 'chowkidar' should somehow lose the elections so that this "mixture of sorts" comes to power in Delhi.
He said Congress has joined hands with those people who praise Pakistan and say 'Pakistan Zindabad'.
"Militants (now) think twice before crossing into our side of the border. The Congress is incapable of taking any major decision. Whether terrorists are in India or outside, they must realize that any step against India will cost them heavily."
Modi also spoke of development and pro-people initiatives in all his rallies.
He talked of reservations for border residents, hydro-power and road connectivity projects, free gas connection, recruitments, construction of bunkers, rail-lines.
"You have to trust the chowkidar to usher in an age of peace, progress and development," he said.
Modi said he wanted to create a New India whose economy is among the top-three in the world, where business can be established with ease, which equals developed countries in science and where agriculture is profitable.
The BJP had made several commitments in its manifesto for 2014 but some of these have not been fulfilled. These include 33 per cent reservation for women through a constitutional amendment and bringing back black money.
The party has been accused by the opposition parties of having failed to deliver on employment and accentuating farm distress, causing job losses and hardships through demonetisation and flawed implementation of Goods and Services Tax.

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 10:40 PM IST

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