NEW DELHI, Feb 6
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said for years the North Eastern region was ignored but things changed under his Government, and it has now become a growth engine.
Replying to a debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address in Lok Sabha, Modi also said many problems in the North East were resolved only for meeting political reasons and remained confined to papers.
"Let us talk about the Bodo accord. Despite many efforts, the issue was unsolved for years. The Bodo accord signed now is special because it has brought all stakeholders together and we are moving towards a more peaceful era," he said.
The Bodo accord was signed on January 27 by the Government with four factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), All Bodo Students' Union and a civil society group for bringing a lasting peace in Bodo-dominated areas in Assam.
The Prime Minister said for years, distance became a reason to ignore the North East and things have changed now.
Replying to a debate Modi also attacked the Congress for its politics in the last seven decades, saying the party's politics of last 70 years has been such that no Congress leader can be self-sufficient.
"I want to clearly state that with the CAA coming, there will be no impact on any citizen of India, practising any faith. CAA does not affect any Indian, it doesn't harm minority interests," he said in his more than 90-minute long reply.
The motion was later passed by the voice vote. The Prime Minister said much has been said about the CAA, ironically by those who love getting photographed with the group of people who want 'Tukde Tukde of India'. "Those who have been removed from office by the people of India are now doing the unthinkable. They see citizens on the basis of their faith. We are different. We see everyone as an Indian," he said.
Attacking the Congress, Modi said a person who was associated with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was made as Chief Minister. "Does a party that keeps talking about secularism not remember 1984 and the anti-Sikh violence. It was shameful. In addition, they did not make efforts to punish the guilty," he said.
Defending the CAA, the Prime Minister said the Congress is having problems when "our Govt is taking decisions on wishes of the country's founding fathers".
Slamming former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah for their remarks on abrogation of Article 370, Modi said Kashmir's identity was buried on January 19, 1990, when Kashmiri Pandits started leaving the Valley due to militancy. "Who made Kashmir only about land grabbing? Who made Kashmir's identity only about bombs and guns? Can anyone forget that dark night of January? In reality, Kashmiri identity is closely linked with harmony," he said.
Elaborating on his Government's achievements, the Prime Minister said the people of the country have seen his Government's work between 2014 and 2019 and gave a bigger mandate in 2019. "The people of India saw our work for five years. They once again blessed us, so that we work even faster," he said.
Modi said India can no longer wait for problems to remain unsolved, and, rightfully so. "That is why, our aim is speed and scale, determination and decisiveness, sensitivity and solutions. The people of India have not only changed the Sarkar (Government). They want the 'Sarokar' (conduct) to be changed as well. If we had worked according to the old ways and thought processes: Article 370 would never have been history. Muslim women would have kept suffering due to Triple Talaq," he said.
The Prime Minister said if his Government worked as per the old ways, the Ram Janmabhoomi issue would have remained unsolved, Kartarpur Sahib corridor would not be a reality, there would be no India-Bangladesh land agreement. Modi said the Congress did not remember to save the Constitution during Emergency and the 'Save Constitution' mantra is must "for those who dismissed several State Governments".
Without naming Rahul Gandhi, Modi said, "I heard an Opposition MP saying- we will beat Modi with sticks in 6 months. I have also decided I will do more 'Surya Namaskar'. This will make my back even stronger to face abuses. In any case, I have been abused so much for the last 2 decades that their negativity hardly matters".
On the economy, the Prime Minister said the Government has kept the fiscal deficit in check, price rise is also under check and there is macro-economic stability.
Modi said the agriculture budget, which was earlier Rs 27,000 crore, has now been increased by five times to about Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The agriculture budget has risen 5 times during the tenure of the NDA Government. The Prime Minister said driven by politics, some States are not allowing farmers to benefit from the PM-Kisan Scheme. "I appeal to them- let there be no politics in farmer welfare. We all have to work together for the prosperity of farmers of India," he said.
He said the PM-KISAN Samman Yojana is transforming the lives of many farmers. Several farmers have benefited due to this. In this scheme there are no middlemen and no extra file work. He also said the FDI in April-Sept 2018 stood at USD 22 billion, while in April-Sept 2019 it increased to USD 26 billion. "This reflects confidence of foreign investors in India," he said.
At the beginning of his speech, some Congress MPs raised slogans hailing Mahatma Gandhi with party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury saying, "it is just a trailer". At this Modi shot back: "Mahatma Gandhi may be trailer for you, but he is life for us". PTI