Modi seeks votes in the name of peace in Punjab
Pathankot, February 16, 2022
Seeking votes in the name of peace, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sought five years in power for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Punjab to serve the people.
Invoking teachings of Sant Ravidas with an aim to woo the state's 32 per Dalit population, the largest in the country, Modi said the world has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic but the BJP government followed in the footsteps of Sant Ravidas and ensured everyone has food.
"Free ration is being provided to lakhs of poor in Punjab for two years. I ask Punjab, give me five years to serve you. I assure you farming, trade, industry will be made profitable," Modi said in an election rally in this town that had seen a major terror attack in January 2016 when heavily-armed terrorists sneaked in from Pakistan.
Addressing his rally in poll-bound Punjab, Modi lashed out at the Congress and AAP. "Wherever the BJP established itself, the remote control family (Congress) from Delhi was wiped out."
"If the Congress is original, AAP is its photocopy...One looted Punjab while the other one is involved in scam after scam in Delhi. Despite being 'Ek hi thali ke chatte batte' they (AAP and the Congress) are playing 'noora kushti' (fixed fight) in Punjab, like WWE, pretending to be against each other."
Wooing the 2.12 crore-strong electorate, Modi said, "Punjabiyat is of ultimate importance to us, while the Opposition views Punjab from the lens of 'siyasat' (politics)...When Captain Sahab (Amarinder Singh) was in the Congress, he would stop them from moving in the wrong direction. Now, he is also not there."
Blaming the Congress for not being able to keep Kartarpur Sahib within Indian territory, the Prime Minister said the Congress got three opportunities for getting Kartarpur back from Pakistan, but it could not make use of the opportunities.
"Who were the leaders when India was divided? Kartarpur was just 6 km away, they should have included it in India. In 1965, the army was moving forward to hoist Tricolour in Lahore, they stopped the army and didn't let Kartarpur be included in India.
"In 1971 too, 90,000 Pakistani soldiers bowed down before India, the Congress should have made them prisoners of war in exchange for Kartarpur; it was our government who made the Kartarpur corridor with our strong diplomacy," said Modi.
He said the people of Punjab have been sacrificing themselves for the nation, but the Congress "demands proof and gets involved in conspiracies on the martyrdom of our jawans; a border state like Punjab cannot be under such people".
Going down memory lane, Modi said people from Pathankot were so kind that they brought food for him in lunchboxes in his initial years in politics.
Modi, who sought votes in the name of Punjab's peace, said the state is not safe in the hands of the Congress, a party that raises questions on the Army.
"Wherever the BJP comes to power, dynasty politics and the remote control governance system are eliminated. When Pakistan attacked Pathankot, the Congress raised questions over the competence of the Army. They disrespected those martyred in the attack. They are not stopping and are now questioning the Army over the Pulwama attack.
"Power cannot be handed over to them. Punjab is not safe in the hands of Congress," he added.
Punjab will go to the polls on February 20 to elect a new 117-member Assembly. Counting of ballots will be taken up on March 10.
In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, the Congress won 77 seats, while the SAD-BJP alliance could win only 18 seats. The AAP emerged as the second-largest party with 20 seats.