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Oppn wants govt that is helpless before corruption, black


Press Trust of India Muzaffarpur (Bihar)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday tore into the opposition, charging it with working towards forming a government that is "weak, loosely knit and helpless" before black money and corruption.
He also assailed the Congress and Lalu Prasad's RJD, alliance partners in Bihar, over financial scandals that rocked their governments in the past.
Modi ridiculed opposition parties that are incapable of winning even as many Lok Sabha seats as are required for their representative to be designated as the Leader of the Opposition for nursing prime ministerial ambitions.
"Those who are in jail or are staring at prison terms, cannot tolerate a strong government in New Delhi for a second. They want a government that is weak, loosely knit and helpless so that they may do manmaani (act as they please)," he told an election rally here.
The prime minister asserted the drive against black money and corruption launched by his government will not slacken.
Referring to the alleged AgustaWestland chopper scam under the previous UPA government in which British middleman Christian Michel was recently extradited to India, Modi said "We have caught hold of their Michel mama (maternal uncle). Soon many of their chachas (paternal uncles) would be traced and brought to justice".
Though Modi was apparently hinting at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he did not name anyone.
In a veiled attack on Lalu Prasad, Modi referred to the IRCTC hotels for land scam in which the former railway minister's wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti and younger son Tejashwi Yadav have been named as co-accused and benami properties allegedly belonging to them seized.
"They will have to account for their shopping malls and their farm houses as well," he said.
Recalling the 15-year rule of the RJD in Bihar, propped for half its tenure by the Congress, Modi warned the voters against backing the opposition alliance, saying the state may return to "lawlessness" it was once notorious for and the achievements of the NDA government could be undone.
He, however, said the opposition is not fighting the election to form a government at the Centre but merely to augment its strength in Parliament.
Speaking in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who head the JD(U) and the LJP, Modi urged the electorate to consider the BJP-led coalition a "three-in-one entity".
"Remember, whether you press the button next to lotus, arrow or house (symbols of the three NDA constituents) your vote shall go to Modi," the prime minister said.
He also took potshots at opposition parties over lack of cohesion and prime ministerial ambition of their leaders.
"Most of these parties are not contesting enough seats which could help their representative become even the Leader of the Opposition, which would require a tally equivalent to at least 1/10th of Parliaments total strength. Still, their leaders are nursing prime ministerial ambitions," he said.
Modi said the Congress, which did not have the numbers for its leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha to be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition, was getting "jittery" over smaller parties gaining ground.
In his nearly half-an-hour long speech, the prime minister steered clear of making any direct reference to the surgical strikes of 2016 or the recent Balakot air strikes for which the Congress has moved the Supreme Court alleging violation of the model code of conduct.
He, however, asserted that India's security forces have successfully kept terror under check during the last five years.
"However, the menace has not vanished. The threat looms large on the entire world. A dastardly attack in Sri Lanka recently claimed 300 lives. But all those running factories of terror and violence are in the cross hairs of this chowkidar (watchman) of yours," he said.
Asserting that his government was committed to ensuring social justice and harmony, he said, introducing 10 per cent quotas for the economically weaker sections among the unreserved category, without infringing on the rights of others, was the best example of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas' (inclusive development).
He said his government granted constitutional status to the OBC Commission notwithstanding opposition from parties like the Congress and the RJD. It is a matter of pride for the people of Muzaffarpur that the first person to head the upgraded body, Bhagwan Lal Sahni, hails from here, Modi added.
Talking about his government's pro-poor leaning, the prime minister said it ended the "VIP culture of lal batti (red beacon lights on cars of important people) and reached milky white light of LED bulbs to the homes of poor".
Modi also spoke of measures like the Ayushman Bharat medical insurance scheme and the Rs 6,000 annual assistance to farmers through the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, besides his governments intention to do away with the five- acre ownership cap for the beneficiaries during his next tenure as PM.
He also claimed that after the first four phases of polling, the opposition lay "chaaro khane chitt (defeated) and that the remaining three phases will only add to the scale of its defeat.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 5:00 PM IST

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