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Modi predicts return, sadhus call for ouster

Modi announces a slew of ambitious projects in Leh, Jammu and Srinagar, saying he hopes he will inaugurate them as PM

By Muzaffar Raina in Srinagar

  • Published 4.02.19, 2:27 AM
  • Updated 4.02.19, 12:29 PM
Narendra Modi at a rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district on Sunday.
Narendra Modi at a rally in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district on Sunday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an emphatic prediction of a second term for himself, pledging to inaugurate the projects for which he laid the foundation stones in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

The Prime Minister, who addressed gatherings at Leh, Jammu and Srinagar, unveiled a slew of ambitious projects worth Rs 3,000 crore for the state, such as a university at Ladakh and an airport terminal at Leh.

At Leh, Modi said he was inaugurating on Sunday the projects for which he had lad the foundation stones in the past. “I am laying the foundation stones (for new projects) today and with your blessing, I alone will come to inaugurate them,” he said.

The Lok Sabha elections are a few months away and the projects announced by Modi on Sunday will take years to complete, making it obvious that he was pitching for his return to power.

Modi hit out at the Congress over issues ranging from the Kartarpur corridor to loan waivers for farmers, calling the Rs 75,000-crore income-support scheme announced by his government in the interim budget historic and one that none could have thought of in the past.

The Prime Minister spent a considerable amount of time deliberating on the farm loan waivers announced by the new Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, states that the party has wrested from the BJP.

At the Jammu rally, Modi claimed that the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which farmers with two hectares of cultivable land or less would get Rs 6,000 a year, as announced in the budget, had no precedent.

“In (independent India’s) 70-year history, (it is) the BJP government (that) has brought such a historic scheme that nobody would have imagined in the past. Twelve crore families… will get Rs 6,000 in their accounts,” he said.

Modi referred to the Jan Dhan Yojana launched in 2014 and tied it to the farm scheme.

“That time those who considered themselves legends used to scoff at it. Now they know how these Jan Dhan accounts will be used. In the near future, Rs 6,000 will be transferred to these accounts in three instalments of Rs 2,000 each. In all, Rs 75,000 will be transferred to farmers’ accounts, no broker or middlemen involved,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister compared the farm scheme to a medicine prescribed by a doctor to completely cure a patient, adding that the Congress’s loan waivers never healed anybody.

Modi claimed that the waivers announced by the Congress governments in the states would benefit a maximum of 20 to 30 per cent farmers, while his scheme would reach 90 to 95 per cent farmers.

On the Kartarpur corridor, Modi regretted why the “land of Guru Nanakji” was not in India but in Pakistan. Kartarpur is a proposed border corridor connecting the Sikh shrine with India.

“The previous governments had the tendency to ignore the requirements and sentiments of the country; take Kartarpur for instance. Had they paid attention, the land of Guru Nanakji would have been part of India,” the Prime Minister said.

In Srinagar, Modi vowed to give a befitting reply to every “terrorist” and said India’s surgical strike across the LoC had shown the world the country’s neeti (policy) and reeti (tradition).

“I assure all the youths of Jammu and Kashmir and the country that the government will give a befitting response to every terrorist. We will break the backbone of terror in the state,” he said.

Modi sported a Dogri dress in Jammu and a Ladakhi outfit in Leh, but avoided using any Kashmiri symbol during his Srinagar programme.