Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 64-feet-tall statue of peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram at his native village Sampla in Haryana's Rohtak district today. The Prime Minister also used the occasion to showcase the steps his government has taken for the welfare of farmers.
"Our government has initiated PM-AASHA (scheme), under which the government will compensate farmers if they do not get proper prices for their crops in the market," he said.
"We are working to ensure that farmers get proper prices for their crops, they are given insurance for losses caused due to the weather, they get urea according to their requirement and that the soil remains healthy," he further stressed.
He also claimed that the government has worked to provide easy credit and banking services to farmers.
Citing Sir Chhotu Ram's contributions, Prime Minister Modi said, "Time and again our country has produced great personalities who have contributed immensely towards building India. Sir Chhotu Ram is one such personality".
The Prime Minister also recalled his stint in Haryana as the BJP's state in-charge in the 1990s.
"I had the good fortune of working in Haryana for some years. There would hardly be a day when I didn't come across someone who praised Sir Chhotu Ram and what he did for farmers," he said.
The Prime Minister repeatedly made connections between Sir Chhotu Ram and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had said during India's partition that if Chaudhary Chhotu Ram was alive, I would not have to worry about Punjab. Chaudhary Chhotu Ram would have managed it," the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Modi's emphasis on the legacy of Sir Chhotu Ram is politically significant in two ways. First, since Sir Chhotu Ram is one of the most respected historical figures of the Jat community, the Prime Minister's comments could be aimed at the sizable number of Jat voters in Rajasthan, where voting will be held in December.
Second, Sampla village where the Prime Minister unveiled Sir Chhotu Ram's statue, falls under former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's Assembly constituency Garhi Sampla-Kiloi and also the Lok Sabha constituency of his son Congress leader Deepender Hooda.
Lawmaker from Rohtak Deepender Hooda, who was the only Congress candidate to win in Haryana during the Lok Sabha elections, was also present at the occasion. Assembly elections in Haryana are due a few months after the Lok Sabha elections next year.
After unveiling Sir Chhotu Ram's statue, the Prime Minister paid floral tribute to the peasant leader and visited a museum built in his memory. There, he watched a four-minute documentary on the life of Sir Chhotu Ram.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union minister Birender Singh, who is the maternal grandson of Sir Chhotu Ram, were also present at the event, besides state ministers Ram Bilas Sharma and Captain Abhimanyu.
The 64-feet-tall statue has been sculpted by renowned sculptor and Padma Bhushan-recipient Ram Vanji Sutar. As many as 5,500 farmers from Haryana donated iron metal for the construction of the statue. Besides unveiling the statue, Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated a rail coach factory in Haryana's Sonipat.