In Patiala, Modi calls Bhagwant Mann ‘kagazi CM’ - Hindustan Times
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In Patiala, Modi calls Bhagwant Mann ‘kagazi CM’

By, Patiala
May 24, 2024 08:22 AM IST

Security was beefed up in view of the call given by farmer bodies to hold a demonstration against Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a fierce attack on the INDIA bloc dubbing it “extremely communal, casteist and nepotist”,

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Patiala, Thursday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Patiala, Thursday. (PTI)

“It (INDIA bloc) neither has a leader nor intent. They only believe in the appeasement of their vote bank,” said Modi while addressing a rally at Patiala, his first in the state for the seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls on June 1. Donning a traditional Sikh turban, Modi said Punjab and the Sikh community have always been at the forefront of national-building efforts, even as he lambasted the current AAP government over issues of corruption and drugs trade. He called chief minister Bhagwant Mann only a ‘kagazi CM’ --- chief minister only on paper.

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Security was beefed up in view of the call given by farmer bodies to hold a demonstration against Modi.

Campaigning for Preneet Kaur, the wife of former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Patiala, Modi brought up the emotive issue of the gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib, a place sacred to Sikhs. “The partition left Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab, just a few kilometres away from the border with India. For 70 years, we could have a ‘darshan’ of the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara only with binoculars,” Modi said .

He said opportunity presented itself to take back the Kartarpur gurdwara in 1971 when more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered before the Indian Army and “we had the trump card in our hands”. “Had Modi been there at that time, I would have taken Kartapur Sahib from them (made it part of Indian territory) and then freed their troops,” he said. “They (Congress) did not do that, but I did as much I could,” Modi added, referring to the opening of the Kartapur Sahib Corridor in 2019 that made it easier for Sikh pilgrims to travel to the shrine.

Attacking the AAP government, Modi said, “Trade and industry are leaving Punjab while the drug trade is growing. The entire state government is running on debt.” The government’s writ does not run here while sand and drug mafia, and shooter gangs’ rule, the prime minister said. “All ministers are enjoying and the ‘kagazi CM’ is always busy marking his presence in the ‘Delhi darbar’. Can such people bring development in Punjab?”

He also took a dig at the AAP and the Congress for fighting the Lok Sabha polls together in Delhi and against each other in Punjab. “In Punjab, they are fighting against each other in elections just to show to people. Delhi’s ‘fiercely corrupt party’ and the party which is guilty of anti-Sikh riots are enacting a drama of fighting against each other),” he said. “But the truth is ‘panja’ (Cong symbol) and ‘jhadoo’ (AAP symbol) are two outfits, but the shop is the same. Over here they may give any statement (against each other), but in Delhi both are dancing together. That is why, I urge people of Punjab to beware of them.” He said the party that “betrayed” their guru Anna Hazare and can speak lies 10 times a day can never do any good to Punjab or its children.

Modi listed out steps taken by his government for the benefit of the Sikh community such as tax exemption on material used for making ‘langar’ and relaxing foreign donation norms to the Golden Temple. He further said his government had announced ‘Veer Baal Diwas’ to mark the martyrdom of the 10th Sikh guru’s sons.

Slamming the Congress for opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Modi said Sikh families were persecuted in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and his government decided to give them citizenship. “It is not for vote bank,” he stated.

He accused the INDIA bloc of lying to farmers. “They made a promise with farmers but did not fulfil it. It is the BJP which gives priority to the welfare of farmers.” In the last 10 years, there was a record purchase of wheat and paddy from Punjab, he said. “We raised MSP two-and-a-half times in the last 10 years,” he added.

Amarinder skips PM’s rally

Captain Amarinder Singh, who has not campaigned in this Lok Sabha election so far, skipped Modi’s rally, citing health issues. Before the PM’s rally, his daughter, Jai Inder Kaur, said, “He (Captain Amarinder Singh) is not well. He is not attending the rally due to health reasons. As soon as doctors advise him to start political activities, he will campaign for Preneet Kaur.”

Other BJP candidates -- Parampal Kaur Sidhu from Bathinda, Arvind Khanna from Sangrur, Hans Raj Hans from Faridkot and Gejja Ram Valmiki from the Fatehgarh Sahib seat -- were also present on the stage.

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