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Gujarat elections: PM Modi says govt works for the poor, not Ambani, Adani

PM Narendra Modi’s remarks were in response to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s repeated jibes that the NDA government works only for rich industrialists.

GujaratElection2017 Updated: Dec 06, 2017 21:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Gujarat elections,PM Modi,Gujarat
PM Narendra Modi addresses an election rally at Dhandhuka village of Ahmedabad district on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that his government builds toilets for the poor, not for industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, as he tried to deflect criticism that he cares only for big businessmen.

His remarks were in response to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s repeated jibes that the NDA government works only for rich industrialists.

“My government has initiated a drive for constructing toilets,” Modi said in tribal-dominated Dahod.

“Was it rich people who used to attend nature’s call in the open … was such a practice followed by Ambani and Adani? Isn’t it for the poor people of India?” he said.

Then at Netrang, he referred to Ambani and Adani again and asked if they live in villages identified by his government to provide electricity. “Isn’t it for the poor people?”

He said his government was committed to bring electricity to 18,000 villages across the country.

The toilets he was referring to are part of his government’s Swachh Bharat campaign to dissuade people from defecating in the open, a practice rampant among the poor people with no access to washrooms.

Congress leader Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Modi of favouring only industrialists during his rallies in Gujarat, which votes on December 9 and 14 to elect a new assembly.

Modi is also campaigning in his home state, where the BJP is in power for more than two decades.

He paid tribute to BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution and champion of Dalit rights, on his death anniversary. The Prime Minister accused the Congress of grave injustice to the Dalit icon.

“Like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar too had to face the Congress’s injustice,” he alleged.

He said the party did not confer the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, on Ambedkar even when it ruled the nation for six decades.

“His foreign education was recognised even by the Maharaja Gaikwad of Baroda, but not by the Congress. For a place in the Constituent Assembly, Dr Ambedkar had to go to Bengal to seek support from Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee,” he said.

Modi was speaking in Dhandhuka, which has a sizeable Dalit population.

The Congress is trying to woo the Dalits, who make up around 40% of the state’s about 60-million people. Alpesh Thakore, a Dalit leader, joined the party before the elections.

Modi will address a rally on Thursday, the last day of campaigning for the first phase of voting on December 9.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 21:44 IST