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Narendra Modi in Chhattisgarh: PM claims Sitaram Kesri's tenure as Congress chief cut short for Sonia Gandhi

Mahasamund (Chhattisgarh): Hitting out at the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday claimed that Dailt leader Sitaram Kesri was not allowed to complete his term as Congress president and was "thrown out of office" to make way for Sonia Gandhi.

Addressing a rally on the last day of campaigning for the second and final phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, Modi said four generations of a family ruled the country and "benefitted from being in power", but the country did not benefit from their rule.

"The country knows that Sitaram Kesri, a Dalit, was not allowed to complete his five-year-term as the Congress president. He was thrown out of office and to the footpath to make way for Sonia Gandhi as the new party chief," he said.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

"Earlier, Delhi had a remote-controlled government. The remote was in the hands of a family, which was afraid of the BJP," Modi said, targeting the Congress and the Gandhis.

He challenged the Congress to select someone "capable" as its president, who did not belong to "that one family".

"Remember the days when four generations of a family ruled the country. What was the fate of the people? They only thought about the welfare of one family but never thought about the welfare of the people. How can we trust them that they will fulfill the aspirations of the people now," Modi said.

He claimed that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had to face a lot of challenges from the then Congress-led government at the Centre.

"For 10 years, the Centre was ruled by a remote-control government, which never paid attention towards Chhattisgarh," the prime minister said.

He praised the high voter turnout in Bastar in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh polls on 12 November and also in the panchayat election in Jammu and Kashmir and claimed that the people had given a befitting reply to those spreading terror.

"Despite being threatened by Maoists with guns and bombs, a huge voter turnout was recorded in Bastar. The poor tribals have shown faith in democracy and given a befitting reply to bombs and guns," Modi said.

"Similarly, yesterday, elections were held for the panchayats in Kashmir. Earlier, people used to skip conducting polls there. After Governor's Rule was imposed, we decided that the power of Kashmir should rest in the hands of the people of Kashmir. Terrorists had given a bandh call in Kashmir, but look at the trust of the people of Kashmir in democracy as a voter turnout of around 60-70 percent was recorded. They have given a slap on the face of separatism and terrorism. They have shown the strength of democracy," he added.

Jammu and Kashmir recorded 74.1 percent polling in the first phase of the panchayat polls held Saturday in 47 blocks - 16 in Kashmir, 21 in Jammu and 10 in the Ladakh region.

Lashing out at the Congress, Modi said. "The doors have been opened for the welfare of Kashmir. Who had stopped the Congress from doing this earlier? They played backdoor games with terrorists which will not be allowed anymore. We took courageous steps one by one."

He also targeted Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over farm loan waiver, an issue that has taken centre stage in the Chhattisgarh polls.

"As elections approach, the Congress plays a game of promises. But they cannot mislead the country anymore. They must answer what did they do for the welfare of our farmers when they ruled for four generations. They kept the farmers in a pathetic condition during their 50-year rule. Had they strengthened the farmers, fulfilled their requirements, our farmers would have been prosperous," the prime minister said.

"They are making false promises of loan waiver to the people of Chhattisgarh. The same promise was made to farmers during the Karnataka polls, but even after around a year has passed, the promise is yet to be fulfilled. Instead, the (Karnataka) government is issuing warrants and arresting farmers against whom debts are pending," he added.

Praising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under Raman Singh in the state, Modi said it had ensured soil health cards for 75 lakh farmers, adding in a sarcastic vein that the Congress had failed to provide health cards to humans.

"Though the Raman Singh government is in power in the state for the last 15 years, it got the actual opportunity to work for the welfare of the state after the NDA government came to power at the Centre in 2014. Raman Singh had to fight for the rights of the state with the Congress government at the Centre," he told the gathering.

Modi said Singh had sought support from the Centre, when it was under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) rule, to fight Maoists, but the "remote controlled" government behaved as if Chhattisgarh did not exist.

He added that if the BJP government under Singh remained in power for another 10-15 years, Chhattisgarh would feature among the top three developed states in the country.

"Chhattisgarh has turned 18 now. This is a very crucial phase for the state. Just like parents care for the future of their children when they turn 18, I urge the people of the state to think about the welfare of the state and once again give Raman Singh a chance to serve," the prime minister told the crowd.

The final phase of the Chhattisgarh polls, covering 72 Assembly seats, will be held on 20 November. The first phase of polling for 18 seats was held on 12 November. The results will be announced on 11 December.


Updated Date: Nov 18, 2018 18:30 PM

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