Varanasi: A day after Congress vice president accused Prime Minister of taking money from Sahara and Birla groups, Narendra Modi on Thursday mocked Rahul Gandhi, saying he is happy that the young leader has ‘learnt to deliver public speeches’.
“Now that their young leader (Rahul Gandhi) has spoken, we have seen what the ‘earthquake’ is all about. I am happy that the Congress vice president has learnt to deliver public speeches,” said Modi.
The Prime Minister also hit out at the Opposition, saying he never thought political leaders will support corruption. “Notes ban is a big cleanliness drive and people are supporting our drive. But the Opposition is siding with corruption. I had never thought some political leaders would have the audacity to stand with the corrupt,” said the Prime Minister. “The ruckus by Opposition in Parliament over note ban is like the cover fire that Pakistan gives to terrorists.”
Modi also hit out at the former PM, saying poverty is Manmohan Singh’s legacy. “Manmohan Singh’s image is clean, but scams happened under his tenure,” said Modi.
He further urged the youth to move towards online banking. “Your mobile phones can be your banks and wallets.”
Modi was addressing a public meeting in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, after laying the foundation stone of Mahamana Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre.
The Prime Minister also attacked Pakistan and said: “To infiltrate militants into India, Pakistan resorts to firing along the border. The militants sneak into the Indian side of the border as soon as the Indian soldiers retaliate to the firing by Pakistan”.
Stringent security measures were in place across the city in view of his visit. The prime minister also interacted with booth-level BJP workers of his parliamentary constituency.
He is also scheduled to take part in a cultural festival, flag off a Trade Facilitation Centre and Crafts Museum, and launch schemes, programmes of Textiles Ministry. Modi arrived in Varanasi around 10:30 am.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari, more than 5,000 security personnel have been pressed into service to ensure fool-proof security arrangements during the nearly five-hour-long period the Prime Minister is likely to spend in the city.
He said 12 SP rank officials, 17 Additional SPs and 42 Deputy SPs would be supervising constables of state police and Provincial Armed Constabulary besides jawans from central paramilitary forces who have been deployed in every nook and corner of the city.
An SPG team has been camping in the city since Sunday and regularly inspecting the venues of functions to be attended by the Prime Minister besides holding meetings with administrative officials here in connection with security arrangements.
Heavy restrictions have been imposed on vehicular traffic which will remain in place until the Prime Minister’s departure which is scheduled at around 3 pm.
At the sprawling Diesel Locomotive Works premises, where will interact with party workers, the overhead water tank has been converted into a temporary watch tower with nearly a dozen policemen perched atop.
Sniffer dogs and bomb disposal squad had surveyed the ground where the function is to be held.
This is the Prime Minister’s first visit to his Lok Sabha constituency since demonetisation which is expected to become a major issue in the upcoming assembly polls in view of the inconvenience caused to people from all walks of life due to shortage of currency.
Notably, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, one of the most vehement critics of the move who had also unsuccessfully contested against Modi from here in the 2014 general elections had held a rally in the city earlier this month attacking the government on the issue.
The Modi government as well as the BJP have been countering the criticisms from opposition parties asserting that it was a bold step taken with a view to eliminating black money and the menace of counterfeit currency.