Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused opposition parties and NGOs of conspiring to destabilise his government for fighting corruption.
“I have been under attack because some people cannot digest that a chaiwalla (tea-seller) has become the Prime Minister. Yeh log shadyantra kartein hain ki Modi ko kaise khatam kiya jaaye (people are conspiring to end my rule),” he said at a farmer rally in Odisha’s drought-hit Bargarh district.
Modi said he had taken steps because of which “these people are facing problems”.
His NDA government has been facing widespread criticism of ignoring rural India as farmers, grappling with the impact of unseasonal rains, hailstorms, drought and debt, were driven to suicide. A decision to amend a land acquisition law has also drawn flak; the Opposition calling the move pro-industry and anti-farmer.
He dismissed allegations of being pro-industry and said his government was the most farmer-friendly since Independence.
He wondered why Odisha was lagging in development despite having the second-largest water reserve in the country after Uttar Pradesh.
“Odisha has the potential to become the number one state in the country in terms of agricultural production,” he said.
He criticised NGOs over foreign funding. “The moment we started asking for accounts, they (NGOs) all got together and said, ‘Modi ko maaro (hit Modi), he is seeking accounts from us’... the country needs to know where the money that comes in is being spent. It is the law.”
“Whatever they say against me, I am not going to deviate from the path of the work you have entrusted me. I am not going to stop, or get tired and there is no question of bowing to it,” he said.
Modi said his government aims to irrigate more land under the Prime Minister Sinchai Yojna than what has been done in the past six decades and appealed to farmers to opt for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, a crop insurance scheme he launched on Thursday.
“Only 20 out of 100 farmers opted for the UPA’s insurance scheme. The new scheme by my government has been devised taking farmers’ welfare into consideration,” he said.
Some farmers were disappointed that Modi didn’t announce any immediate relief for the state. More than 150 farmers committed suicide in drought-hit Odisha in 2015 – almost half of them in Bargarh – because of debt and crop failure.
“He did not say a word about our farm crisis,” said Raghaba Pradhan, a farmer.