JALANDHAR — Setting the stage for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the Congress at the ‘Dhanyawad (thanksgiving) rally’ in Gurdaspur on Thursday, over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The rally was organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at the PUDA Grounds on the Gurdaspur-Batala Road. The BJP organised the rally to thank Modi for opening the Kartarpur Corridor and constituting a special investigation team (SIT) that led to conviction of Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
Modi attacked the Congress by calling its history “tainted with the blood of thousands of innocent Sikhs” who were killed during 1984 riots in Delhi.
Taking a jibe at Kamal Nath, Modi said that the Congress was rewarding leaders accused in the riots by making them chief minister.
“Ek parivaar ke ishaare par jin jin aaropiyon ko ‘sajjan’ bata kar file daba di gayi, NDA sarkar ne unko bahar nikala, SIT ka gathan kiya aur parinaam sabke saamne hai (At the behest of a single family, the Congress had hidden the files and had called those accused in the riots ‘good people’. The NDA government dug out those files and constituted an SIT and the result is in front of you),” said Modi.
"The Congress’ has played with national security, and even today the are spreading lies to weaken the defence forces, its history only glorifies and worships one family."
Hard-selling the Kartarpur Corridor Project, Modi said, the Congress had kept Sikh devotees away from the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara.
“Seventy years ago, during partition, we were separated from the holy land, even though it was only a matter of few kilometers. The then government couldn’t keep the holy place in India. For many year, devotees have been forced to watch the land of their guru through binoculars,” Modi said, adding that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had taken the historic decision to make the Kartarpur Corridor Project.
Attacking Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for hugging Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit Pakistan for the oath taking ceremony of his friend and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, Modi said that the party’s leaders were known for hurting the sentiments of the Indians and demoralising the armed forces.
“The Congress’ has played with national security, and even today the are spreading lies to weaken the defence forces, its history only glorifies and worships one family,” Modi said and lauded Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for taking a stand against Sidhu.
Modi attacked the Congress on its promise of farm loan waivers, saying the party had come to power in Punjab by lying to farmers.
“Most farmers in Punjab own small chunks of land and have not taken loans from the bank. They have either taken loans from commissioning agents or from some other sources. I wonder who the government is offering loan waivers to?” Modi said. He added that in 2008-09 the Congress had given loan waivers of Rs 60,000 crore while the total liability of farmers in the country was Rs 6 lakh crore.
Prime Minister Modi also listed out projects taken up by the Centre like the Shahpur Kandi dam project and praised NDA for exempting religious places from GST. He hailed Centre’s decision to set up an AIIMS in Bathinda, providing free gas connection to over 11 lakh women and MUDRA loans to over 28 lakh youths. He, however, accused the state government for slowing the pace of central government schemes.