- PM Narendra Modi today hit back over the opposition's allegations
- He said unlike others he was not afraid of being seen with industrialists
- "My conscience is clear," he said, citing as an example Mahatma Gandhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hit back over the opposition's allegations about his proximity with corrupt industrialist Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, saying unlike others, he was not afraid of being seen with industrialists, who play a key role in the nation's development. "My conscience is clear," he said, citing as an example Mahatma Gandhi, who often stayed at the Birla House, the home of the industrialist who extended support to the Congress during the freedom movement.
"I am not the kind who is scared of being seen with industrialists," the Prime Minister said at the launch of 81 investment projects in Lucknow, attended by captains of the industry.
"There are those who don't want to meet them in public, but only behind curtains... there is not one industrialist who has not done a 'shashwat pranaam' (deferential respects) at their homes... Doesn't everyone know whose aircraft these people travel in?" he said in a scathing attack.
Asserting that industrialists "play an important part in developing the country", PM Modi said, "Why should we shame them, call them thieves?"
The Congress has repeatedly attacked the Prime Minister over his alleged links to industrialists, accusing him of neglecting the farmers and the underprivileged. On the Indo-French deal for fighter jet Rafale, the Congress has accused the government of paying far more for far fewer aircraft than the deal negotiated by the UPA to benefit an industrialist.
The 81 investment projects launched today are worth over Rs 60,000 crore. Around 80 leading industrialists, including Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla group, Gautam Adani, chairman of Adani group, Subhash Chandra, chairman of Essel group and Sanjeev Puri, MD, ITC, attended the event.
The projects the PM launched today are expected to hugely boost industrialisation in the state, which has huge development goals to meet before next year's Lok Sabha elections. The projects, the state's industry minister Satish Mahana said, have the potential to create more than 2 lakh jobs.