SAHARANPUR--Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that a mood of hope pervaded the country replacing hopelessness that prevailed under the UPA rule as he pitched his government as one dedicated to the poor and farmers which prevented the "loot" of public money.
Addressing the first of his four public rallies here in Uttar Pradesh, which will have assembly polls next year, to mark the second anniversary of his government, Modi reached out to the electorate, calling himself a "UP wala" who cared for the farmers.
Asserting that India was growing at the fastest rate, Modi said only two years ago many thought the country had "sunk".
"They would say India has sunk and things cannot change. There was a mood of hopelessness while there is hope and enthusiasm today. Earlier there was a mood of unease, now it is about moving forward," he said.
He also attacked the previous Congress-led government over corruption, while flagging his government's "honest" credentials.
"Look at the newspapers and TV channels two years ago. Corruption in high places was the norm. I am now in the government and I am shocked how past governments have looted the country.
"Are governments installed to loot? I am here to end that culture. I want to ask you have you heard of any news about our government looting even a rupee? Have even our critics managed to accuse us of corruption? Two years ago no one had the courage to come to the people and ask them for an opinion, he said.
The Prime Minister repeatedly spoke of his "pro-poor" and "pro-farmer" schemes throughout his half-an-hour speech and took swipes at the previous Congress-led government by raising the issue of corruption and speaking of BJP s taint free governance.
He said his government had taken a series of measures to help clear the dues of sugarcane farmers, a politically important constituency in the region, while other governments were not concerned about them.
Recalling that in his address after he was elected the leader of the BJP-led NDA following the Lok Sabha win he had promised his government would be dedicated to the poor, Modi said every decison he had taken ever since was in that direction.
"If you look at my work of two years, you will see one decision after the other was taken to empower the poor to fight poverty, to strengthen the poor against poverty so that they could defeat it. No poor man wants to bequeath poverty to his children. I have always tried to work for the common man," he said.
Citing shortage of doctors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced raising the age of retirement of government doctors to 65 years and said the Union Cabinet will give its nod to the decision this week.
In a rally to observe the second anniversary of his government, Modi said there is a need for more doctors across the country but it was not possible to fill the gap in two years of his government.
The decision will cover all government doctors whether serving under states or the central dispensation, he said.
"There is a shortage of doctors. In government hospitals, their retirement is 60 years in some states, 62 in some others. If adequate number of medical institutes were there, then we would have more doctors and would not feel the shortage. It is difficult to make doctors in two years but poor families cannot be forced to live without doctors.
"Therefore from Uttar Pradesh, I want to announce this to my countrymen that this week our government's Cabinet will take a decision and the retirement age of our doctors, whether in states or government of India, would be made 65 years instead of 60 or 62," he said.
It will allow doctors to serve patients and provide education for a longer period, he said, adding that his government is also working fast to have more medical colleges to have more doctors in the field.
Modi's announcement came after he appealed to doctors to serve poor pregnant women for free on each ninth day of every month, saying it will contribute to his government's efforts to deal with illness among the poor.
If one crore families can give up on LPG subsidy, then Modi said he is sure that doctors can serve poor expectant women for 12 days in a year, he said.