- Congress promised much more than it delivered on loan waivers: PM Modi
- He described himself as a 'chowkidar' of the people who is toiling hard
- PM Modi's rally is seen as an effort to woo the Rajbhar community
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of misleading farmers on loan waiver promises, calling them lollipops.
On a day's visit to the Purvanchal region, his second trip to Uttar Pradesh this month, PM Modi claimed the JD(S)-Congress coalition government which came to power in Karnataka recently had waived only 800 farm loans.
"Be wary of the Congress and its lies," he said at a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for a medical college and releasing a postal stamp on legendary king Suheldev.
"Will you trust the lollipop company?" he said.
PM Modi's remarks on farm loans - made at other recent meetings as well - follow the waivers announced by the Congress governments in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh after the recent assembly polls.
He has been saying that the Congress had promised much more than its governments have delivered on loan waivers, a charge denied in the past by that party.
The prime minister described himself again as a 'chowkidar' (watchman) of the people, a term ridiculed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
"This chowkidar of yours is toiling very hard day and night, and with honesty, to brighten your future and that of your children. Because of this chowkidar, some thieves are having sleepless nights. It is your faith and blessings on me that will take the thieves to their rightful place one day," he said.
He described Maharaja Suheldev as a brave warrior.
"Maharaja Suheldev is among those bravehearts who had struggled for the honour of 'Maa Bharti'," he said.
"All people hailing from the deprived and the exploited sections of society seek inspiration from him. Remembering him strengthens the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (inclusive development)," he said.
The PM's rally is also being seen as an effort by the Bharatiya Janata Party to woo the Rajbhar community, which reveres Maharaja Suheldev.
However, BJP ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party has distanced itself from the event. SBSP chief and Uttar Pradesh minister Om Prakash Rajbhar has claimed he was not invited in time.
PM Modi said his government will not let the memory of those who defended the country and worked for society to fade away.
"There are bravehearts of the country who have not been given the due respect by the previous governments. Our government is paying tribute to them," he said.
"Several important steps have being taken to transform Purvanchal into a big medical hub and to strengthen small industries in UP," PM Modi said.
He said when a government works with transparency and public interest is put above self-interest, big tasks are accomplished effectively.
"Today even the poorest of the poor are heard. The government has been able to lay the foundation of a strong monument," he said.
PM Modi mentioned Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and said for the first time healthcare had been given so much emphasis.
The prime minister listed several agriculture-related projects for the region.
These include the International Rice Research Institute in Varanasi, cargo centres in Varanasi and Ghazipur, a fertilizer plant in Gorakhpur and the Bansagar irrigation project.
He said the Union government has fixed the minimum support price of 22 crops at one and a half times the cost of production.
Mentioning connectivity projects, PM Modi said work is in full swing for the Purvanchal Expressway.
The recently opened waterway between Varanasi and Kolkata would also benefit Ghazipur, he added.