Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 16 said his government has taken measures to weed out Congress-aided middlemen to ensure that the entire central funds percolate down to the poor. He also announced a slew of measures for the welfare of farmers and fishermen, if the BJP was voted to power.
Mounting a blistering attack on the Congress, Modi accused it of being a silent spectator to the loot of public money besides being embroiled in multiple controversies and scams before the BJP-led government put brakes on these corrupt practices. "During the Congress era, only 15 paise of a rupee would reach the poor and the rest was swindled by unscrupulous elements. No one bothered to stop it. Now, we have ensured that central funds reach the poor," Modi said, addressing a rally here in western Odisha.
"People have seen a helpless and corrupt government in the past, and rampant corruption charges in the form of sugar scams, ration scams and the urea scandal," he said.
The Congress and its 'mahamilawati' friends desperately want to oust this 'chowkidar' because of the BJP's onslaught on corruption, he said.
Maintaining that there is no dearth of resources, Modi said the previous dispensations never paid attention to proper utilisation of funds and natural resources, while his government has taken concrete steps for its optimum use.
Seeking to reach out to farmers in western Odisha, the prime minister said his government has hiked the Minimum Support Price for paddy 1.5 times, but the state's BJD government failed to take proper steps for its procurement.
As a result, the entire process is being controlled by middlemen and farmers are unable to get remunerative price for their produce, he said.
Modi's statement was a counter to the recent claim by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that the Centre has no sympathy for the farmers of the state.
Hitting out at the Patnaik government, Modi accused it of depriving the farmers of the benefits of PM-KISAN scheme by not cooperating with the Centre in its execution.
Accusing the BJD government of failing to provide a complete list of farmers, the prime minister said only 8.5 lakh peasants of the state could benefit from the scheme in the first phase due to the state government's apathy.
Modi promised that all eligible farmers would get assistance under the PM-KISAN scheme immediately after the BJP forms government at the Centre once again.
"We will also ensure that the farmers get the entire benefit without diversion by middlemen," he said.
In a bid to woo farmers and the fishermen community, the prime minister announced that separate ministries of fisheries and 'jal shakti' would be set up for their benefit, if the saffron party is re-elected.
"The jal shakti ministry will end the water crisis in the country by ensuring that water from rivers and seas reach the poor and the needy. We will also launch schemes for the welfare of the fishermen," he added.
Claiming that farmers are unable to benefit from Hirakud dam over river Mahanadi due to the state government's "apathy", Modi said the proposed Jal Shakti ministry will go a long way in mitigating their woes.
A Rs 10,000 crore scheme will also be launched for the welfare of fisherfolk in the country, Modi said.
Modi alleged the BJD government was protecting those involved in mining and chitfund scam cases.
"How can they (the state government) think of common people when all they do is protect those involved in chitfund and mining scams. It is the Modi government that amended decades-old mining law and ensured that a part of the fund from the resources extracted is utilised for the development of local infrastructure," he said.
As part of district mineral foundation (DMF), Rs 6,000 crore was given to Odisha to build hospitals, provide clean drinking water and build schools. However, only Rs 1,000 crore was spent and the rest is lying untouched as the state government is not sincere about people's welfare, he claimed.
Accusing the Patnaik government of betraying people by claiming central schemes as its own, the prime minister said the Centre's contribution in the much-trumpeted Re 1 per kg rice scheme in the state is a whopping Rs 29 to Rs 30 per kg.
"Though the state's contribution is only Re 1 or Rs 2 per kg, the BJD government is cleverly misleading the people and taking full credit," he said.
"If your son sends money order to you, do you credit him for it or the postman?" he asked.
He also accused the Congress and the BJD of discriminating between people on the basis of region and caste and said the state reamined backward of this approach.
Claiming that the people of Odisha have been "blindly" electing the BJD to power for the last 20 years, Modi said the ruling dispensation needs to be replaced and people should elect a "double engine" government by voting the BJP to power both at the Centre and in the state for speedy development.
The prime minister promised that everyone will be provided pucca houses by 2022 if the BJP is voted back to power, while Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme would be implemented in Odisha for the benefit of its people.
Modi claimed that the the first phase of voting indicates that BJP will once again form government in New Delhi and also come to power in Odisha.
Polling for Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat, where the BJP has fielded Nitesh Ganga Deb, is scheduled to be held in the third phase on April 23.