We believe in empowering people, not in using any section as vote bank: PM Modi

DEHRADUN, Dec 4: Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted development projects worth more than Rs 18,000 crore to poll-bound Uttarakhand on Saturday and said his Government believes in the development of all and not in serving a particular community, caste or religion and using them as a “vote bank”.
The Prime Minister alleged that the ten years of rule by the Congress-led UPA were a “waste” for Uttarakhand and the country, and said his Government is making up for the lost time by doubling the speed of infrastructure and connectivity projects.
“We bring development projects for the benefit of all, irrespective of their caste or religion. We don’t believe in using a particular community, caste or religion as a vote bank. We work for the empowerment of all,” Modi said kickstarting the BJP’s campaign for 2022 assembly polls with a a rally at the Parade Ground here.
He addressed the public meeting after the inauguration and foundation laying of 18 projects worth Rs 18,301 crore including the Rs 8,600-crore Delhi-Dehradun economic corridor, Asia’s biggest elevated wildlife corridor and a new bridge as an alternative to Rishikesh’s iconic Lakshman Jhoola.
Terming vote bank politics as one of the perversities that have entered the country’s polity, Modi said that unlike other parties that believe in keeping people weak so that their dependence on them never ends and their “crown” remains intact, the BJP believes in empowering them and making them independent.
He alleged that efforts launched in the field of connectivity and infrastructure development by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the beginning of the century came to a halt during the ten years of UPA.
“The Government that succeeded saw only scams in the name of infrastructure projects. Those ten years went waste for Uttarakhand as well as the rest of the country. We are making up for the lost time by doubling the speed of infrastructure and connectivity projects,” Modi said.
“A connectivity ”Mahayagya is underway across the country at present to make up for the lost time. Today’s inauguration and foundation laying programme here is part of that Mahayagya,” he said.
Modi who began his speech in Garhwali said these projects will help make this a decade of Uttarakhand.
“I had said from the sacred land of Kedarpuri that this decade belongs to Uttarakhand and I repeat it again. These projects will help Uttarakhand achieve that goal,” he said.
Terming the projects as unprecedented work in the field of infrastructure development in Uttarakhand, he said the development of the hills state is the “double engine” Government’s topmost priority.
“Those who question what the double engine Government has done should come and see for themselves how the double engine Government works… The projects cover all sectors, be it health, infrastructure, religious tourism, medicinal herbs,” the Prime Minister said.
Drawing a comparison, he said the UPA built only 288 km of national highways in Uttarakhand in seven years from 2007-2014 while the BJP Government at the Centre had built 2000 km of national highways in the state in the 7.5 years.
“They spent Rs 600 crore in seven years on the construction of national highways in Uttarakhand while we spent more than Rs 12,000 crore during the last seven to seven and a half years, ” he said.
He said the Centre had sanctioned projects worth over Rs one lakh crore for Uttarakhand over the last five years and the State Government is working on a war footing to implement them as fast as possible.
“Don’t you think we have worked? Don’t you think these projects are going to change your lives and the coming generations?” Modi asked in his characteristic style to loud cheers from the audience at the ground filled to capacity.
He also spoke about building hundreds of kilometres of border roads in Uttarakhand besides implementing OROP, acquiring state-of-the-art defence equipment and ”teaching a lesson to terrorists”, saying the people of Uttarakhand all of whom have their kin in the armed forces can understand the importance of these measures better than anyone.
Modi, who also laid the foundation stone of redevelopment projects in Badrinath which are part of its master plan, said the reconstruction work carried out in Kedarnath had led to a record number of footfalls at the Himalayan temple with more than ten lakh pilgrims visiting it before the Corona pandemic struck.
“Those who are falling apart throughout the country cannot build Uttarakhand,” Modi said targeting his political adversaries without naming any political party.
The double engine Government will continue to serve the people of Uttarakhand following its motto of empowering common people and giving them an opportunity to lead a life of dignity as it is doing in every nook and corner of the country,” he said.
He said the state has a young leader in Pushkar Singh Dhami besides many experienced senior leaders committed to work for its development.
Striking an emotional chord, Modi recited a poem he had written in praise of Uttarakhand a few years back to conclude his address.
“Jahan pawan bahe sankalp liye, jahan parvat garva sikhate hain; Jahan unche-neeche sab raste bas bhakti ke sur mein gate hain;
“Us Devbhomi ke dhyan se hi main sada dhanya ho jata hoon; ye bhagya mera saubhagya mera main tumko sheesh nawata hoon (Where even the winds blow with resolve, where the mountains teach us pride, where roads high and low all sing the songs of devotion; the mere thought of that divine land makes me feel blessed and bow my head to it). (PTI)