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After Ram in 2020, BJP to focus on free ration for poor in U.P.

“This is the beauty of double-engine development,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on August 5, 2021 as he interacted with beneficiaries of a central food security scheme in Uttar Pradesh through video-conferencing.   | Photo Credit: PTI

If Narendra Modi-led BJP dedicated August 5 last year — exactly a year after changing the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 — to launch the construction of the Ram Mandir, this year the day marked the government’s emphasis on free ration to the poor in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Modi on Thursday accused past governments in Uttar Pradesh of restricting the State to a “political centre” for reasons of dynasty and political selfishness and never linking it to the country’s financial progress.

The Prime Minister also blamed the Opposition parties for “stalling” the proceedings of Parliament and “insulting” it for their “political selfishness” and said their actions indicated they were trying to score “self-goals.” He juxtaposed the stalling of Parliament with the achievements and ‘goals’ scored by the Indian sportspersons in the ongoing Olympics in Tokyo.

“What the country wants, what it is achieving and how it is changing, they have no interest in this. For their selfishness, these people are hurting both the country’s time and feelings,” Mr. Modi said, adding that the country could not be “held hostage” to this politics, which went “against the interests” of the country.

Important date

Addressing beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana virtually, Mr. Modi said the date August 5 would be recorded in history for years to come. He referred to the removal of Article 370 (2019) and the “first steps” towards the construction of Ram Mandir (2020). To emphasise Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attended the event for free ration from the town, where he elaborated on Mr. Modi’s plans and schemes worth over ₹3,000 crore for building a “New Ayodhya.” Ram Mandir was being built at a fast pace, added Mr. Modi, who also praised Mr. Adityanath as a “karma yogi.”

Mr. Modi said each foodgrain sent from Delhi was now reaching the beneficiaries and that the implementation of this scheme strengthened the “identity of new Uttar Pradesh.” In previous governments, the foodgrains meant for the poor would be looted, he alleged. The government said the scheme was benefiting almost 15 crore people through 80,000 fair price shops in the State, which has a roughly 23 crore population.

‘Political lens’

With few months left before Uttar Pradesh goes to the polls, Mr. Modi lamented that the State was always seen through a political lens, as the route to power in Delhi through Lucknow. “Many people dreaming of this came and went but they never saw that the road to India’s prosperity also passed through Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Without taking names, Mr. Modi said, “Some people became prosperous, some families moved up. They made themselves prosperous instead of Uttar Pradesh. I am happy Uttar Pradesh is now moving forward after coming out of their vicious circle.”

Interacts with beneficiaries

The Prime Minister first interacted with Badami, a woman from Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency. Ms. Badami said her family was happy to receive free ration during the pandemic and now had got a pucca house, toilet, electricity and gas connection. The family earlier had a kutcha house with a leaked roof, she told Mr. Modi, who expressed delight and slight surprise at the dramatic change in her lifestyle and asked her if she would invite him for a meal the next time he visited Varanasi. Mr. Modi asked her to educate her three children.

Next was Amlavati from Kushinagar, a backward district in east Uttar Pradesh. She also listed the change in her lifestyle and the household facilities and said she was content with the help received from the government during the pandemic.

While interacting with Pankaj Sehgal, a farmer who also runs a kiosk in Jhansi, Mr. Modi stressed that his government had introduced the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). He also spoke to beneficiaries from Sultanpur and Saharanpur, both women.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 9:34:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/after-ram-in-2020-bjp-to-focus-on-free-ration-for-poor-in-up/article35743409.ece

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