'I Was Raised Among the Poor, Understand Farmers' Pain': PM Modi in Bengaluru Rally

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Bengaluru on Friday


"Give it up," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a big rally in Bengaluru today, urging "MPs, MLAs, ministers, IAS and IPS officers, professors and professionals" to give up subsidy on cooking gas to benefit the poor.

"Gas cylinders surrendered by you can be transferred to the poor who use wood for cooking. If one crore people give up their LPG subsidy, one crore poor people will benefit," he said in a speech that he used to furnished a report card of his government's ten months at the Centre, also tearing into the Congress which rules Karnataka.

A major chunk of his speech addressed farmers on a day that President Pranab Mukherjee signed off on the latest version of the  controversial land acquisition ordinance, which was sent to him with amendments after the government failed to pass it in Parliament.

The Congress has led a united opposition against what it calls an "anti-farmer" ordinance or emergency executive order, which seeks to make land purchase easier for industry and to develop roads, ports and power stations, among other infrastructure projects.

Mr Modi did not refer to the land ordinance. He pitched for reforms in the agriculture sector and promised a "second green revolution" in the country. "I was raised among the poor, I understand farmers' pain...their interests must be protected," the PM said.

In a dig at the Congress, he said, "People launch campaigns for farmers just for politics, they don't understand basic issues."

The BJP has in the last ten months reversed setbacks brought about by the Congress' "poor governance," the PM said, listing his government's achievements.

"Despair has vanished, hope is here," he said.

PM Modi is in Bengaluru for a two-day BJP conclave. The meet is focused on boosting brand Modi as the party gets ready for crucial elections in big states like Bihar and West Bengal.

A colossal defeat in the Delhi elections early this year has also alerted the party to the need to expand its presence in states where it is weak, like the southern states.

In 2013, the Congress wrested Karnataka from the BJP, which had won the state five years earlier in its first such success in the south.

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