25/11/2016 2:29 PM IST | Updated 25/11/2016 3:31 PM IST

Modi Defends Demonetisation, Invokes Surgical Strikes In Punjab Rally Ahead Of 2017 Polls

"I am doing everything possible to ensure the middle class is not exploited and the poor get their dues."


BHATINDA -- Hours after training his guns on the opposition while defending the government's demonetisation drive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that this move is aimed at giving rights to the poor and preventing the middle class from being exploited.

The Prime Minster said that his government would ensure that the poor gains benefit due to this decision.

"Black money and corruption has looted the middle class and deprived the poor of their rights. I want to give the poor their rights. I am doing everything possible to ensure the middle class is not exploited and the poor get their dues," he said.

He also thanked the people, who supported the government's move despite facing currency crunch.

"I fall short of words in conveying my thanks to the people as they stood with me even when they had to face hardships," Prime Minister Modi said.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking after laying the foundation ceremony of the All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS) in Bhatinda, said that his government does not believe in laying foundation stones but also ensures that the promises made to the people are fulfilled.

"The AIIMS here will benefit the local areas. This government does not only stop at laying foundation stones, but we complete all projects," he said.

Defending the Centre over demonetisation, Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day said the move had empowered the common man in the fight against black money, while taking a swing at the opposition and critics saying they were flustered as they were caught off guard.

"Those criticizing the demonetisation move don't have problem with government's preparedness; they have problem that they didn't get time to prepare," Prime Minister Modi said.

"The common citizen of India has become a soldier against corruption and black money," he added while stressing on the need for India to move towards a cashless society.

Indus River Water Belongs To India, Says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on to assert that the welfare of farmers was his main concern and vowed that his government would ensure that the Indus River, which is in dispute with Pakistan, will flow again in the state and provide relief to farmers.

Speaking to the foundation ceremony of All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS) in Bhatinda, the Prime Minster asserted that the river belongs only to India.

"The fields of our farmers must have adequate water. Water that belongs to India cannot be allowed to go to Pakistan. The government will do everything to give enough water to our farmers," he said.

He, however, justified that this was not a political gimmick to seek votes rather concerned about the welfare of the farmers.

"For me elections do not matter. I am more concerned about the welfare of the farmers," Prime Minister Modi said.

The Prime Minister's remark can be attributed as a response to India taking strong objections to the World Bank's decision to set up Court of Arbitration and appoint a 'Neutral Expert' to go into Pakistan's complaint against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.

India maintained that it was 'legally untenable' to set up two parallel dispute mechanisms.

Vikas Swarup, Official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs had said that India had asked the World Bank to appoint a Neutral Expert, while Pakistan demanded a Court of Arbitration to resolve the dispute.

In the wake of the deadly Uri attack in September, Prime Minister Modi had also held meetings with the Water Resources officials, External Affairs Ministries and the PMO to discuss the government's options on the India-Pakistan Indus Waters Treaty.

Under the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan and also the World Bank in 1960, the World Bank has a specified role in the process of resolution of differences and disputes.

Modi Urges Pakistan To Fight Against Corruption, Not India

Asserting that the surgical strike across the Line of Control has wreaked havoc in the Pakistani establishments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called on the citizens of the hostile neighbour to ask it government to focus its attention on the corruption and black money in the country, not against fighting India.

"Pakistan is not far from here, still look at the valour of our army soldiers. When they conducted surgical strike, it created havoc across the border," he said.

Sending a message to the people of Pakistan, the Prime Minister added, "I want to speak to the people of Pakistan once again. They must talk to their rulers and decide whether they want to fight against India or not. They should tell their rulers to fight against corruption and fake notes."

On 25 September Prime Minister Modi had asked Pakistanis to ask their rulers that why at a time India was exporting software to the entire world, Pakistan was bent on exporting terrorism.

Prime Minister's remark was in response to terrorist strike at the Army camp on 18 September, where 18 soldiers were killed.

This also comes at a time when Pakistan on Thursday asked the United Nations to act before the escalation along the LoC becomes a 'full-fledged crisis'.

Earlier, outgoing Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif warned India that if Pakistan ever launched surgical strikes, India would not be able to forget it for generations.

"If Pakistan were to launch surgical strikes, India would not be able to forget it for generations to come," Sharif said days before his scheduled retirement.

While dismissing India's assertion that it had carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan, Sharif said that its army was capable of teaching a lesson to the Indian armed forces.

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