Asserting that in difficult times India has given priority to the lives of its citizens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the government is working tirelessly to bring back all Indians stuck in Ukraine.
India on Saturday began the evacuation of its stranded citizens amid the Russian military offensive in Ukraine.
With the Ukrainian airspace being closed for civil aircraft operations, the evacuation flights are operating out of Romanian capital Bucharest and Hungarian capital Budapest.
“In difficult times, India has given priority to the lives of every Indian. We have left no stone unturned to rescue our people. The Operation Ganga is underway to bring our sons and daughters back to India from Ukraine,” Modi said.
“In these tough times it is essential to make the country strong. The people who have been involved in arms deals cannot strengthen the country. The dynasts who support terrorism cannot strength the country,” Modi said attacking rival parties at a rally in Basti.
Catch all the live updates of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict
The prime minister urged people to rise above barriers of caste and religion, and strengthen the country by making it “atmanirbhar” (self-relaint).
“The previous governments led by dynasts kept India dependent on foreign countries for its defence needs but now the priority is self-reliance,” he said. Targeting the Opposition parties, Modi said, “There is a difference between ‘rashtra bhakti’ (devotion to nation) and ‘parivar bhakti’ (devotion to family).” “The country celebrated three years of the Balakot air strike on February 26 but the dynasts sought proof of it then,” he said referring to the air strike on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan, days after the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, which in which around 40 security personnel were killed.
Modi also remembered freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad on his martyrdom day. He died on this date in 1931.
Continuing his tirade against the rivals, Modi said the dynasts want “money in their lockers, Constitution in their pocket and the poor at their feet”.
“Previous governments focused on foreign products for their cut and commission. They made our armies dependent on foreign companies and destroyed the defence industry. But we are now making a defence corridor in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
Talking about crude oil, he said India doesn’t have wells of oil and imports it in large amounts.
“The previous governments didn’t focus on ethanol as fuel, which can be produced from sugarcane. We are developing infrastructure to produce ethanol and biogas from cattle dung. We are also trying to become self-reliant in edible oils. For this, the government is buying oil seeds from farmers,” he said.
In an apparent dig at the Samajwadi Party, Modi said they were with a party in 2017 and another party in 2019 and added “those who cannot stay with their friends can never stand with the people of the state”.
The SP had an alliance with the Congress in the 2017 Assembly polls and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
For the UP polls, it has formed an alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal and a string of caste-based regional parties.
Without taking any name, the prime minister alleged that the dynasts usurped crores of money which could have been used to build schools and bring development in the state.
Modi also addressed a rally in Deoria and a BJP workers’ meeting in Varanasi.
In Deoria, the PM said the Uttar Pradesh elections are a fight between the dynasts and diehard nationalists, which the opposition parties do not understand. Attacking previous state governments, Modi alleged that they shut sugar mills and didn’t clear dues of sugarcane farmers.
Whereas the Yogi Adityanath government modernised sugar mills and facilitated ethanol blending, which fetched about Rs 12,000 crore for the state, the PM said.
Accusing the rivals of ignoring medical needs of the area, Modi said children used to die because of encephalitis.
Under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath, the wrath of encephalitis has been removed, he claimed, adding that he recently inaugurated nine medical colleges in the region.
“Eighteen new medical colleges have been made in the country and 20 are under construction. We are want the son and daughter of the poor to study medicine and engineering in their native languages. This will benefit the students who study in Hindi-medium schools of the area,” said Modi.
Modi also said the dynasts tried to instigate people against the coronavirus vaccine.
“But due to this vaccine, business has started and schools are reopening,” he said.
Modi said his party’s double-engine government gave free ration to 15 crore families, which included the Dalits as well as the general category people.