Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh to mark two years in office. The symbolism was hard to miss. Uttar Pradesh, which sends the largest number of lawmakers to Parliament and played a crucial role in the BJP’s Lok Sabha triumph, goes to the polls next year. In an hour-long speech on Thursday, the Prime Minister presented a report card of his government – a detailed account of policies and various social welfare schemes -- and promised even better days (acche din) ahead.
Here are some highlights of Modi’s speech:
- I am a UP-wala... I am your pradhan sewak.
- Our cabinet will take a decision this week to increase the retirement age of government doctors to 65.
- When I took oath two years ago, I said my government will work for the poor. Today, I have come to give an account of my work.
- Governments are there to fulfil dreams. When I was elected leader of the House, in my first address, I said my government will be a government for the poor. I have taken up programmes which help poor fight poverty.
- If my government does something wrong, it runs on TV for 24 hours. I welcome this close scrutiny. There should be accountability for every penny, every moment. In these two years, have you heard of any charges of corruption involving my government?
- I ask the people of UP have they ever heard that the Modi government has taken bribes. Even our rivals can’t accuse us of corruption.
- Merely throwing crumbs at farmers is not our way of working. We are trying to solve the problems the farmers face.
- My government is committed to working for the poor. We have taken up tasks that will strengthen the poor to fight poverty.
- I warn sugar mills that you won’t be allowed to do what you have been doing.