PHULBARI: Going by the huge turnout it was obvious that the’ Modi magic’ worked for the BJP. His supporters were elated and so was he as he landed in the dusty town of Phulbari on Thursday afternoon to a waiting crowd of over fifty thousand people who braved the heat and dust to listen to him speak.
Rhetoric was at its best and Modi was in his elements as he dismantled all the arguments of the Congress projecting himself as the leader who had the interests of the minority Christians in the country.
From his usual jabs and barbs at the Congress which he accused of failing to deliver to the people’s mandate in the last 50 years, the Prime Minister surprised many as he rounded up the conclusion of his 45-minute speech with his government’s active role to protect minorities.
Modi spoke for close to ten minutes giving details about how his NDA government in New Delhi ‘actively’ worked to help Christian missionaries stranded and taken hostage by terrorists in conflict countries in the middle east and nearby Afghanistan.
“This government has not remained a silent spectator to incidents where Christian missionaries and minority workers have been terrorised in conflict zones,” said the Prime Minister.
He narrated the efforts of his government to in bringing back 46 Christian nurses who had been kidnapped by militants in Iraq.
“Fr Alex Premkumar, a missionary working in Afghanistan had been languishing in terrorist captivity for 18 long months. Our government worked tirelessly to ensure his safe return,” said the Prime Minister as he went on giving details about how his government helped to get another Christian missionary, Father Tom, safely back from Yemen.
He did not forget to give his wishes to the people of Garo Hills speaking in Garo dialect asking for the Lord to bless the people of Garo Hills.
Earlier, the Prime Minister called upon the people to demand accountability from the Congress government in the state.
“Landing at Phulbari, I am amazed by the support. This is a call for ‘Parivartan’ in Meghalaya and people are yearning for a change.
He appealed to the people of Garo Hills and the state to give the BJP five years to undo the damage of the last many years under Congress rule.
“Without good roads there cannot be development but in Garo Hills roads are becoming cultivating fields due to total disrepair. In five years, I assure you, we will bring about the change people want,” said Modi.
He went on to speak about the slew of developmental funds being released annually to the state.
“Eighty per cent of the money spent in the state comes from the Centre. Successive governments watched without taking action as funds were misappropriated every year. But when our government came to power in Delhi we sought accountability,” claimed Modi as he pointed out to the monthly visits by Central ministers to the north east region to inspect centrally-funded projects.
“We asked for utilisation of the funds and then we asked for a spot inspection of the project sites which is why the Congress government in Meghalaya is now reluctant to seek project funds from New Delhi,” mocked Modi.
On the PMGSY road projects, the Prime Minister informed that 470 crores were given this time for roads in the villages by the central government and the NDA government at the Centre had enhanced the funds for highways from 1000 crores to Rs 10,000 crores in the state.
“People in Garo Hills have the ability to do well in life provided infrastructure like roads, rail and airways are given priority by the state government.
“Today, even if you wear Hawai chappals you can board the Hawai Jahaz (plane) thanks to the UDAAN scheme which has helped many people to utilise the air service in the north east,” asserted the Prime Minister.
He also gave details about the central scheme aimed at providing affordable LED lights and electricity to the poor which led to the distribution of 3,30,000 LED bulbs at affordable pricing, and the sanction of 100 crores for affordable housing for the poor.
“Despite the centre releasing the money to construct 21,000 houses for the poor, the Congress government has stalled the construction of close to 16,000 of the sanctioned homes. The BJP, if voted to power, will give accountability for every Rupee spent,” said the Prime Minister much to the applause of the crowds gathered at the rally.
His developmental speech rounded off with the recent announcement of a medical insurance scheme of five lakh rupees for the poor termed by many as ‘Modicare’.
The BJP is fielding 18 candidates in the Garo Hills that have total 24 Assembly constituency out of the total 60 seats in the State. One of the BJP candidates is contesting from Phulbari, a constituency which has so far eluded the party.
“I can sense that the ‘phool’ (Lotus) will bloom in the ‘bari’ this time,” a confident prime minister announced.