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PM asks Congress why 18000 villages remained in darkness even decades after Independence

Repeating his ‘naamdar (dynast)’ barb at the Congress, PM Modi said they did not know the pain of ‘kaamdars (ordinary workers)’ and were accusing him of working for the wealthy.

india Updated: May 25, 2018 22:23 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Sindri
PM Modi,Congress,Village electrification
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, during the annual convocation of Visva Bharati University, in Birbhum on Friday. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a blistering attack on those accusing him of working for the rich, saying people “neck-deep in vote bank politics” should answer if moneyed people lived in the 18,000 villages where his government had provided power for the first time since Independence.

Repeating his ‘naamdar (dynast)’ barb at the Congress, he said they did not know the pain of ‘kaamdars (ordinary workers)’ and were accusing him of working for the wealthy.

“Those guided by fashion of showing devotion towards the poor by bad-mouthing the rich should answer, are there any moneyed people living in the 18,000 villages kept in darkness since Independence before our government provided electricity to them,” Modi said.

“I wish to question these ‘naamdars’ about this (why 18,000 villages lived in darkness), who does not know the pain of ‘kaamdars’,” he said.

Those “neck-deep in vote bank politics”, who had no time to spare for these 18,000 villages living in darkness even after 60 years of Independence during their time, were accusing him of working for the wealthy, the prime minister said.

Modi had earlier used his “naamdar” barb apparently targeted at Congress president Rahul Gandhi during the campaign for the Karnataka assembly election.

The prime minister was addressing a function at Sindri, about 20 km from Dhanbad town, after inaugurating five projects worth Rs 27,000 crore for Jharkhand.

Jharkhand governor Draupdi Murmu, chief minister Raghubar Das, Union power minister R K Singh, minister of state for health Ashwani Choubey and Dhanbad MP P N Singh were present at the event.

The PM said that besides electrification of these villages, the Union government has set a target to provide power connection to four crore families having no electricity through the “Saubhagya” scheme.

Out of the four crore families, 25 lakh hailed from Jharkhand, he said.

Modi said in addition to the Rs 27,000 crore worth of projects, works are underway in projects earmarked for the state at an estimated cost of Rs 80,000 crore. Fifty such works are in progress, he added.

The five projects which were inaugurated today by the prime minister included revival of closed Sindri urea fertiliser unit, thermal power plant with a capacity of 2,400 MW at Patratu, AIIMS and an airport in Deogarh and taking gas pipeline to households in Ranchi.

The PM recalled that it was Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who as minister at the Centre had started the Sindri urea unit.

Modi said that during campaign for the 2014 parliamentary election he had urged people that if they elected a BJP government at the Centre too along with Jharkhand, the “double engine” would propel development of the mineral-rich state.

“Today this double engine of Jharkhand government and one at Delhi working in the same direction is taking the state to greater heights of development,” he said.

Saying that in democracy, election is the yardstick to gauge people’s satisfaction over performance of governments, Modi cited the saffron party’s victory in panchayat polls in Jharkhand to buttress the point.

Modi had flown straight to Sindri from Santiniketan in West Bengal where he addressed the university convocation and also inaugurated Bangladesh Bhawan with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

From Sindri, he flew to Ranchi to have a brief session with District Magistrates of 19 “Aspirational Jharkhand districts” and Chief Minister Raghubar Das.

The prime minister recently launched the “aspirational district” programme to ensure all-round development of these areas.

First Published: May 25, 2018 22:23 IST