Malout, Punjab: In a sharp attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused it of betraying farmers and using them as vote bank to further the interests of “one particular family.”
He was speaking at a public meeting — “Kisan Kalyan Rally” (farmers’ welfare rally) — at Malout in Punjab. The rally was held to mark the “unprecedented” increase in Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Kharif crops announced by the Centre recently.
Modi said despite toiling hard, farmers had to live a life of despair and despondency for decades because of the policies of the Congress-led governments.
In a veiled attack on the Gandhi family, he said the Congress was “only for one particular family” and how to make them comfortable.
“I know why for years you could earn only 10 per cent profit on the cost of inputs incurred by you. I know what was the interest behind this. Farmers are the soul of our nation, they are our ‘annadata’, but the Congress always betrayed them and told them lies. The Congress used them as vote bank,” the prime minister said.
He said that the NDA government at the Centre was working towards changing this scenario.
The meeting was attended by a host of leaders from the SAD and the BJP, including Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Reaching out to the farmers, who travelled from different parts of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan, Modi said, “I salute you for the way you have been filling granaries with record production in the past four years. Be it wheat, paddy, cotton, sugar or pulses, all previous records are being broken. New records will be set.”
Modi, who spoke a few lines of his speech in Punjabi, said that be it defending borders or ensuring food security, Punjab had always inspired the country.
(With inputs from PTI)