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Cong betrayed the villagers’ trust, cold-shouldered panchayats: Modi

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Rewa (MP): In a withering assault on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi averred on Monday that, in the post-Independence era, “the party that held sway for the maximum period of time” demolished rural confidence.

Addressing a mammoth gathering here on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, the visiting leader said, “After the BJP assumed the reins in 2014, attention was paid to integral development and empowerment of panchayats; earlier dispensations turned a Nelson’s eye to this aspect and discriminated against panchayats. Grants to such bodies have been raised to in excess of Rs 2 lakh crore as compared with the earlier paltry figure. Optical fibre connectivity was enhanced from a mere approximately 70 village panchayats to two lakh.”

Even prior to freedom, the Panchayati Raj system was accorded considerable importance, the Prime Minister observed and added that Mahatma Gandhi used to say that India’s soul is in the villages but the Congress turned a deaf ear to Bapu’s ideas.

“Rural residents, schools, roads, electricity, storage, economy, etc were on the lowest rung in the list of government priorities. In stark contrast, the BJP government ended this step-motherly treatment meted out to villages and gave the highest priority to rural interests. About three crore dwellings were constructed for the non-urban indigent and most residential ownership rights are vested with women. Each such abode costs more than Rs 1 lakh, in this manner crores of women became lakhpatis,” Mr Modi said.

Comprehensive work has commenced vis-a-vis natural farming; chemicals are wreaking havoc on agricultural land, he cautioned and added that a panchayat-level public awareness campaign concerning natural farming is the need of the hour.

“The Mudra Yojana has been rendered operational for accelerating employment in villages and is serving as a medium for providing assistance amounting to thousands of crores of rupees. Banking facilities have been expanded in rural areas; as a direct consequence both peasants and traders are being benefitted. Tap water is being supplied to rural areas’ residents; the figure is 60 lakh dwellings within Madhya Pradesh alone. Drone technology is utilised for rural surveys and legal documents handed over regarding property. We have dreamt of a developed India and are toiling day and night for achieving that objective. Our spheres of endeavour may be distinct but our objective is the same – public service to national service,” Mr Modi emphasised.

Without naming any political personage, he said that individuals from Chhindwara – on whom this state’s people reposed faith – remained apathetic towards development.

“Why? The answer lies in the thinking of certain political parties.”

The Prime Minister commenced his 33-minute-long speech by bowing to Goddess Vindhyavasini; mentioned his emotional attachment with this place and the fact that he visited it on numerous earlier occasions.

He symbolically handed over SVAMITVA Property cards to beneficiaries; participated via the virtual medium in ‘Griha Pravesh’ of more than four lakh beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin; laid the foundation stone for projects worth about Rs 7,000 crore under the Jal Jeevan Mission; dedicated to the nation various railway projects worth Rs 2,300 cr; flagged off three trains; unveiled a campaign ‘Vikas ki Or Sajhe Kadam’ whose theme is inclusive development; inaugurated an eGramSwaraj and GeM portal for public procurement at Panchayat level and viewed an exhibition.

Among the dignitaries who graced the occasion were a few of Mr Modi’s ministerial colleagues, Madhya Pradesh Governor Mangubhai Patel and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

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