MARIANI/SIVASAGAR/SAMAGURI (Assam) ;
TERMING Congress as “most corrupt”, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Zubin Irani on Saturday said the Opposition party only showed dreams of development in Assam and indulged in “politics of divide”. Addressing three back-to-back rallies in her maiden election campaign in Assam, the senior BJP leader appealed to the people of Assam to vote for the BJP to continue to avail benefits of various central and state schemes. Kickstarting her day-long programme at Mariani, she said Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal have rolled out a number of schemes, benefiting the poor people of the State. Continuing her blistering attack on Congress in her second rally at Sivasagar, Irani said the Opposition party only showed dreams of development, which were fulfilled by Modi after assuming power in 2014.
Addressing her third rally of the day at Samaguri, Irani said, “The Congress for years did politics of divide. Did Modi ever ask religion and caste of the people when he gave toilets to 10 crore people and opened 40 crore Jan Dhan accounts?” Listing out a series of schemes launched by the Central and State Governments, she said the Congress Government never worked for the poor people and appealed to the people to vote for the BJP in the forthcoming Assembly polls. Without naming former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Irani said, “There are some tall leaders of Congress from Assam and they even became the PM. But, AIIMS came to Assam only during Narendra Modi’s tenure.” She was in Mariani, which is going to polls in the first phase on March 27, to campaign for BJP candidate Ramani Tanti, who will have a direct contest with the sitting three-time heavyweight Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi.
“For years, Congress ruled the State and showed dreams of development. However, development came only when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014,” she added. Irani said money will continue to come from the centre, but it will reach to the public from the State exchequer only if there is a peoples Government by the BJP in Assam. “One Congress leader had said that only 15 paise reach to the public against every Re 1 released by the centre. That means that leader also accepted that Congress workers and local leaders looted public money,” she added. She was referring to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assertion without naming him. The Union Minister asserted that no one has dared to touch public money after Modi assumed power at the Centre. Before Modi, no one ever imagined that the leader of the country would talk about constructing toilets for the safety of poor women from the podium of Red Fort, she added.
“The Congress, which could not construct toilets, is talking about making your future now!... Congress could not even construct toilets for the poor, but are promising to build colleges and universities,” she said, adding Modi’s decision to open Jan Dhan accounts eliminated corruption. The Minister further said that it is the BJP Government which introduced health insurance of Rs 2 lakh at a premium of Re 1 for the poor people. “Did Congress do that? The Congress never gives money to the poor, but the hand (symbol of Congress) snatches it from peoples’ pockets,” she added. Irani further said since the Modi Government came to power in 2014, the North East got its respect, dignity and due recognition.
“When the Congress was at the centre, it did not even release the Rs 60,000 crore to Assam under the 13th Finance Commission. But, when the Narendra Modi Government came, it released Rs 1,70,000 crore under the 15th Finance Commission,” she claimed. It is the fortune of the people of Assam that they have Modi at Centre and Sonowal in the State as both of them are working continuously for the development of the region, the Union Minister said. She pointed out that the tea garden workers minimum wage before 2014 was Rs 97, which has been raised to Rs 217 now. “For the pregnant women of tea gardens, we were giving Rs 12,000 and this has been raised to Rs 18,000. More than 50,000 women got this benefit in Assam. So, please vote for such a Government, which has done so much work for you,” Irani said. She also mentioned other schemes like financial aid to women Self Help Groups (SHGs), healthcare facilities in tea gardens, educational scholarships to meritorious students and reservation for tea garden students in medical studies.
“We take pride in managing the Coronavirus pandemic. We are giving the vaccine to 150 countries under the Vaccine Maitri programme. During the pandemic, 80 crore people got free ration and 22 crore women got Rs 30,000 crore in their accounts,” Irani said. She asserted that had there been a Congress Government during the pandemic, such benefits would have never been given to the people of the country because “no one is more corrupt than Congress”. Irani also attacked the Congress for joining hands with Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF to form an alliance and said “this party is attacking the culture, language and civilisation of Assam”.