Shri Narendra Modi addressed a massive crowd of supporters at the Fateh rally in Jagraon, Punjab, on the afternoon of 23rd February.
Speaking of the strong bond shared between the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal, Shri Modi said, “Our alliance with Akali Dal is not merely a political alliance to fight elections...this is an alliance highlighting the togetherness!” He spoke of how this strong association has given troubled times to the Congress since, under the BJP-Akali alliance, they were unable to follow their policies of ‘divide and rule’.
Appreciating the relentless efforts of Punjab CM Shri Parkash Singh Badal at charting the growth story of Punjab, whilst highlighting how the people of Punjab had shown their support for development by reelecting Shri Parkash Badal for the second consecutive time, Shri Modi said, “It was believed that incumbent governments change but Badal Sahab broke that trend. Punjab chose development.”
Shri Modi stated that the unison of thoughts of Punjab Chief Minister Shri Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab Depute CM Shri Sukhbir Badal would successfully take the state forward in its development journey, as while Shri Parkash Badal’s focus was on ensuring the welfare of farmers and grassroots development, Shri Sukhbir Badal took the lead in ensuring industrialized growth. “If you talk to Badal Sahab even for 10 minutes he will talk about farmers 10 times. And Sukhbir ji thinks on industry and cities. Badal Sahab and Sukhbir ji are a wonderful pair. They will drive our growth,” said Shri Modi, while stating that Shri Parkash Badal’s organizing of Krushi Melas had proved to be a big step towards making agriculture modern, even as the recent convention of world-class industrialists in Punjab, under the leadership of Shri Sukhbir, had given a push to the State’s industrial growth.
Shri Modi expressed strong displeasure at the rampant corruption in the current-day government, and spoke of how the only focus for Congress was on glorifying their own family, instead of remembering and following leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai. “Sadly the Congress believes that only one family needs to be glorified. They forget Lala Lajpat Rai, but Badal Sahab remembered them,” said Shri Modi. He also spoke of how he had closely worked with senior leaders like Shri Parkash Singh Badal, Chaudhary Devi Lal, Chaudhary Bans Lal and even Farooq Abdullah ji, during his early days of organizational work in Punjab, and shared details of how he had learnt and imbibed the effectiveness of these leaders.
Speaking at the rally, Shri Modi duly acknowledged the contribution of the people of Punjab in the Nation’s growth story, and especially in the domains of agriculture and national security. He underscored the need to give a boost to agricultural activities by focusing on the 3 important aspects of procurement, management and distribution. Stating that value-addition and increase in productivity per acre was the need-of-the-hour for agriculture, Shri Modi said, “Our priority should be how to increase productivity per acre and bring technology in agriculture. For this, I suggest that the FCI be divided into three parts: one that will focus on procurement of grains, second on its storage and the third on the distribution of grains.” Highlighting the indifferent attitude of the Central government towards the farming community of India, Shri Modi stated how the Minimum Support Price was declared year after year, but its implementation remained limited only on paper.
Shri Modi also saluted the ‘veerbhoomi’ of Punjab which had given many sons to the Indian army, sacrificing their lives for the service of the nation, but strongly condemned the announcement of the ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme for the servicemen by the Centre, mentioning that similar announcements were made during the reign of many Congress Finance Ministers, but the same never got implemented. “One Ran One Pension was a long standing demand. Sadly the Centre plays with the emotions of our servicemen,” said Shri Modi, while also calling for the need to make our borders safe, citing it as the need-of-the-hour.
Shri Modi urged the people to vote for the BJP in the 2014 elections, and assured them of pro-people governance. “During elections NDA is National Democratic Alliance but in Government we work as National Development Alliance: I will not go as a PM but as a Chowkidaar. I will never let any Hand touch the coffers,” said Shri Modi, while taking a dig at the rampant corruption levels in the Congress government that had emptied the coffers meant for people’s progress.
Recalling the strong ties shared between Gujarat and Punjab, Shri Modi spoke of how farmers from Punjab and settled in Kutch, had made the region turn into green fields from being a barren land. He also highlighted the attribute of adaptability common to both communities by saying, “Go to any part of the world, and you will see a Gujarati family and a Sikh family. They are living peacefully with the society.” He further assured the Sikh farmers residing in Kutch that under no pretext will they be ever made to leave Gujarat. “This nation is one and every person is together: No Sikh farmer will leave Kutch. An officer can go but no Sikh farmer will leave Gujarat, and I am very clear on this,” said Shri Modi.
Shri Modi spoke of Punjab’s inspiring influence on the rest of the Nation by mentioning how the food and songs of the State were enjoyed by people from the rest of the country. “Your blessings are not only political. They are for making India a Vishwa Guru,” said Shri Modi, while appreciating the impact Punjab had on entire India.
Dignitaries and senior party members present during the rally included Shri Rajnath Singh, Punjab CM Shri Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Shri Sukhbir Badal.