Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 42-minute speech during an election campaign at Phulbari of West Garo Hills in poll-bound Meghalaya on Thursday expressed his love for the Christian community of the State.
The election rally of Modi in Garo Hills was attended by over 25,000 people.
Modi told the crowd that the National Democratic Alliance-led Central government has been engaging in various rescue operations of the people of the Christian community, who got trapped in the clutches of terrorists in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
Citing the example of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from Kerala, who was kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in 2016, Modi said, “Father Tom, in Yaman, who was spreading the message of Christianity was kidnapped by the terrorists. The Indian government made tireless efforts day and night to rescue him and we also urged to those nations, which had cordial relationship with Yamen to save Father Tom. We successfully freed Father Tom and got him back. His heath was deteriorating and we provided his medical care as well.”
Modi also gave examples of how his government was able to rescue 46 nurses from the hands of militants in Afghanistan in July 2014. Prime Minister Modi, whose party is often blamed for Pro-Hindu stands, blamed Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma for doing ‘communal’ politics saying that Sangma does not believe in taking everyone along in the path of development.
Notably, Garo Hills in Meghalaya once saw the most severe protest against beef ban last year among other parts of the State.
In his second visit to Phulbari post December 2017, Modi slammed Mukul Sangma-led Congress government for the dilapidated road conditions in West Garo Hills, underdevelopment in the heath sector and said the Central government gives 80 per cent funds for developmental projects in the State, but “no development has been seen in the State which means that all the funds go to the pockets of the Congress leaders”.
Modi also stated, “What is the reason that even if crores of rupees are released by Delhi for roads, there is no road to be seen in Meghalaya. People from the rural areas of Meghalaya do not know what a pucca road is. The roads are only fit for doing agriculture here. Under the PMGSY, we have provided Rs 470 crore for construction of 1100 km roads, but Meghalaya government could not even complete 50 pc work of the roads. “
“The current government in Meghalaya has wasted 50 years of yours, I urge you to provide us with five years. Today the world is appreciating India. It is because the people of this country have reposed faith in us,” Modi alleged.
The PM also took a jibe at the Congress for low growth in tourism sector and said that though tourism is an industry, which needs very low capital but can earn huge profit the state, the State government has not been able to utilise it properly.
Talking about the Act East policy, Modi said with improved relationship with Bangladesh and Myanmar, the region has huge potential to make growth the tourism sector.
Prime Minister Modi also announced Rs 180 crore for renovation of the Shillong Airport, houses for the landless, heath insurance worth Rs 5 lakh for each person among others.
He also attacked Chief Minister Mukul Sangma for ‘family-centric politics’. “Meghalaya has become the property for the Congress party as all the members including his wife to his brother-in-law is fighting the election. Had he has a grandson, he would have also fielded him in the polls,” he said.
“This is the time to change the future of Meghalaya. For years you have been dealing with the same party and so the party has taken its people for granted. They think the State is their property. May be, you have love for the party but it’s time for you to make a change of guard at least to see what we can offer for you,” added the PM.