Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lauded the Indian armed forces for their valour and successfully carrying out the surgical strike at Pakistani terrorist bases in PoK. The prime minister was speaking at a rally in Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh, where he inaugurated three state-run mega hydro power during his day-long maiden visit to the state.
Evoking the memory of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi also sought to strike a chord with the crowd amassed for his maiden rally in the state. "Atal ji hamesha maante thhe, ki agar unka koi dusra ghar hai to wo Himachal hai (Atal ji always considered Himachal his second home)," Modi said adding that Himachal Pradesh is not only the "devbhoomi (God's land)" but also "veerbhoomi (The land of the brave)".
Modi also said that Himachal is the land of the brave because every second family in Himachal has given at least one personnel to the country.
Lauding the armed forces, the prime minister said that earlier we used to hear about similar feats of Israel. But now everyone knows Indian Army is no less. "Israel used to do it earlier; now Indian Army has shown it is no less capable" Modi said in the backdrop of surgical strike.
Modi also brought up the One rank One Pension Scheme that recently got the government's nod, and praised his government for finally implementing what has been "stuck for the last 40 years." While others made promises, we gave you your right," the PM said.
Recalling one of his rallies in Himachal at the time of 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi said that at that time he had promised OROP but today, his government has been successful in giving the ex-servicemen their rights.
He also blamed the previous governments for making shallow promises on the issue of OROP, stating that they merely allocated inadequate funds for the implementation of the scheme without assessing the state of government coffers.
Modi also took a dig at the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister without taking any names. Recalling past BJP governments and chief ministers he said, "Shanta Kumar ji is remembered as that 'paaniwala chief minister', Dhumal ji is remembered as the 'grameen sadak wale chief minister'. And we all know about this chief minister and how he will be remembered."
This was Modi's maiden visit to the hill state after becoming prime minister. "Aaj chhoti Kaashi mei sar jhukaane ka avsar mila hai. Mai soch raha thaa aap logh naraaz honge ki maine yaha aane me itna samay liya (Today I got the opportunity to bow my head at 'chhoti kaashi' but I thought you will be angry at me for taking so long in coming here)," he said at the rally.
During his day-long visit, Modi will inaugurate NTPC's 800MW Koldam Hydro Project in Bilaspur district, NHPC's 540MW Parbati Stage-III project in Kullu district and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd's 412MW Rampur project in Shimla district. The Prime Minister is also likely to address another rally in Nahan town in Sirmaur district, adjoining Uttarakhand.
Union health minister JP Nadda and the party's national president Amit Shah are accompanying Modi.
The foundation stone of NTPC's Koldam hydro project was laid on June 5, 2000, by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"Modi has expressed extra concern for this hill state by announcing so many incentives, including re-granting special category status. But the state (Congress) government has failed to derive full benefits of the central projects," BJP leader and twice chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told IANS.
With inputs from IANS