'They want to remove me, I want to remove corruption': Modi in Lucknow rally eliminates competition

Accusing the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party of doing politics at the cost of development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the people of Uttar Pradesh to vote for the BJP to change the state's fortunes. The rally at Ramabai Ambedkar Grounds was Modi's first public rally of 2017.

PM Narendra Modi in Lucknow on Monday.

PM Narendra Modi in Lucknow on Monday.

It was also the first rally by Modi after the expiry of the 50-day grace period of demonetisation on 30 December. The rally is seen as a culmination of the four Parivartan yatras carried out by the BJP in the poll-bound state. To be held at the Ramabai Ambedkar grounds, the BJP reportedly hopes to see a turnout of over 10 lakh people — double the capacity of the 80 acre ground. The party has arranged for over 15,000 buses to help supporters attend the rally.

Modi started his address by noting that this was probably the largest gathering in any of his rally. "Even in the run-up to the general election in 2014, turnout was never this huge. Thank you," Modi said. The prime minister said it was imperative for Uttar Pradesh to develop for India to progress in every sense.

"We want India to march ahead, want poverty to be eliminated, illiteracy to end, diseases to end. But all these dreams will be fulfilled only when the fortune of Uttar Pradesh is changed," he said. "For India to progress, UP has to progress. It pains me when I see how governments in the state have been functioning. Even for building a road, they first measure political considerations. Development is not their preference. They only know petty politics," he said, targeting the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party which have ruled the state for the last 14 years. The Centre in the last two and half years provided Rs 2.5 lakh crore to the state. Had this money been properly utilised, UP's condition wouldn't be like it is now," he said.

Attacking the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said that the two parties who never see eye to eye, are comfortably united against him.

"It is unfortunate that development is not priority for the rulers here," Modi said.

The prime minister also invoked former prime minister and senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that leaders like him spent their youth working for the development of this land (UP).

Apart from attacking Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and SP and BSP over black money, the only thing that probably struck a new note was Modi's mention of the BHIM App. The Bharat Interface for Money or the BHIM app was launched by the prime minister for cashless payments is based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Bringing up the app launch during the rally, Modi invoked Bhimrao Ambedkar and said that the brain behind Reserve Bank of India was that of Ambedkar. "Ambedkar was a social reformer but he was also a economic reformer, in a way."

Slamming the BSP for caste-politics in Uttar Pradesh, Modi asked what Mayawati's problem was if BJP launched an app and called it BHIM. "Will politics stoop so low? Why were some people troubled when we launch a mobile app after Bhimrao Ambedkar?" said the prime minister.

Targeting BJP's rivals, Modi accused all the major parties in Uttar Pradesh — SP, BSP and Congress — of being busy in issues that have no relation with the development of the state and its people.



Samajwadi Party

Concluding his address, Modi urged the people to vote for BJP and bring it back to power with "poori bahumat". "Not half-heartedly, but bring us back with full mandate," he said. Against all expectations, Modi did not elaborate on the infighting going on in SP.

Reports had earlier said that Modi, in all likelihood, will raise the family feud in his address as he hopes to win the electorate of Uttar Pradesh in an election that is very crucial for the BJP in the next general elections — more importantly as it desperately needs a majority in Rajya Sabha, to enable smooth passage of legislation. If the Samajwadi Party feud continues, the UP election fight could very well be one between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who, at the moment, seems to have the popular vote among the SP cadre, News 18 report said.

With inputs from agencies

Published Date: Jan 02, 2017 15:27 PM | Updated Date: Jan 02, 2017 17:27 PM

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