Ludhiana: Slamming the “delay” by UPA in granting ‘one-rank, one-pension' for ex-servicemen, Narendra Modi today accused Congress of playing “fraud” with the armed forces and mocked Rahul Gandhi's pitch on fighting corruption.
Addressing a ‘fateh' (victory) rally with leaders from the ally Shiromani Akali Dal on the dais, the Gujarat Chief Minister, who donned a saffron turban, also dismissed as “rumours and a pack of lies” the controversy about migration of Sikh farmers from Kutch region in his state, promising that no Sikh farmer will have to leave Gujarat. He described the BJP-SAD alliance in Punjab as a symbol of Hindu-Sikh unity which has put to end the “Congress' game of divide and rule”.
In his 30-minutes speech at a packed ground, Modi was unsparing in his attack on Congress and said the party was now throwing pepper instead of dust in the eyes of the people to befool them, a reference to the pepper spray incident in Lok Sabha involving an expelled Congress MP during the taking up of Telangana bill.
The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate took potshots at the Gandhi family and Congress for targeting other parties on corruption.
“I am surprised that the leader of Congress is now engaged in raising fingers on other political parties on the issue of corruption, when the entire ABCD has become the identity of the corruption of Congress. When Rajiv Gandhi was ruling the country as Prime Minister, there was no other party but only Congress, which was in power from Parliament to Panchayat.
“At that time he had said that when he sends a rupee from Delhi, only 15 paisas reach the village. What was this ‘Panja' which used to rub the rupee (one rupee coin) and it would turn into 15 paisa,” Modi said, vowing that if he is elected Prime Minister he will occupy the top seat as a “chowkidar” (warchman) and won't allow the ‘Panja' (hand) to cast its shadow on the state treasury.
He hit out Congress on one-rank, one-pension issue. After Rahul Gandhi's push, the government accepted the long-standing demand of ex-servicemen for ‘one-rank, one-pension' and allocated Rs 500 crore for the fund a few days back. This decision is expected to benefit around 30 lakh retired personnel of the Armed forces. Modi wondered why the government did not bring this proposal in previous budgets even as it was in power for last ten years.
“The government, which is sitting in Delhi, has always been playing a farce with the Armed Forces. Before this also, a number of times, the Finance Minister of Congress had made announcements about One Rank One Pension (OROP) but never fulfilled it.
“Even this time since I am repeatedly talking about it, they have announced it but this is a “fraud” (dhokha) with you. Had Congress party been honest, they had the chance to it in 10 budgets from 2004 to 2014. But they did not do it,” Modi said.
Maintaining that had the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee come to power in 2004, this would have been done, the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, “only our government will be able to implement it.”