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Opposition alliance will send country to ICU: Modi

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: February 28, 2019  | 20:32 IST

(Eds: Adding details, quotes) New Delhi, Feb 28 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday pitched the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as an election to fulfil people's aspirations after his government "fulfilled" their necessities, as he cautioned the BJP rank and file against any "smallest lapse" that may result in a setback like in 2004. The Opposition's proposed grand alliance, which he called 'mahamilavat' (highly adulterated), will send the country to ICU (intensive care unit), Modi said, referring to "corruption and scams" under the previous UPA rule and describing the combine as a mixture of "oil and water" that will leave them useless. In a video-interaction with BJP workers and sympathisers from across the country, he referred to the "experience of Atal ji" to say a smallest lapse may stop the fast-paced development under his government and "ease of corruption" and scams will rule again. The first BJP-led NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had suffered an unexpected loss in the 2004 polls. Modi said the Vajpayee government's works "went in vain" as the country was pushed backwards under the subsequent Congress-led UPA rule of "corruption and scams". Expressing confidence that the BJP will get to "serve" the country again, the prime minister said one more term for him will make the strong building raised by his government to become "grand and prosperous". Citing the ongoing development works, he said, "If there is any lapse in 2019 (polls), this will all go down the drain." Under his government, he said India has jumped to become the world's sixth largest economy from 11th and he wants it to go up to the third position. "But a smallest of lapse can stop this fast pace of development. We have the experience of Atal ji. We have brought India's rank in the ease of doing business to 77 from 142. A slightest of lapse and ease of corruption will rule again," he said. "Direct benefit transfer has stopped the loot of government money. A slightest of lapse and the loot by fixers will begin and corruption and huge scams may return again," Modi added, asserting that people have not forgotten scams relating to coal block allocations, 2G spectrum and the Commonwealth Games. These alleged scams under the UPA government had become a major poll plank of the BJP in 2014 as Modi led it to its first ever majority government at the Centre. Modi asked BJP workers to contact various sections of society, including first-time voters, and suggested that every booth worker should be in touch with 10 families. The difference between 2014 and 2019 polls is similar to the one between a black and white TV and colour TV, the prime minister said, adding the former was about fulfilling people's necessities while the next five year will be about fulfilling their aspirations. His government has taken fundamental requirements to every doorstep while India also came out of "fragile five" to become a strong economy in the past five years, he said. The journey from 2014 to 2019 was from hopelessness to hope and necessities to aspirations, he said. "2019-24 will be about taking a flight of progress," he added. Under his government, he said everybody can feel a change and all sections of society are full of self-confidence and ambition. People believe that what was impossible earlier is possible now, he added. Targeting the Congress, Modi said its recently elected governments in three states -- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh -- have begun cutting down on the central dispensation's welfare schemes and denying benefits of health insurance and pro-farmers programmes to people there. When it was in power at the Centre, he said, the Congress put Aadhaar on the back-burner, hampered defence modernisation for "pocketing commission" and did not complete the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. The upcoming elections will be between two political cultures, with one being represented by the BJP which "stands for democracy and honesty" and another by the Congress and other parties where decisions are taken by families, he said. "The BJP gave India two prime ministers and both of them were neither born in big families or had much assets...Democracy is in our DNA," he said. Taking a dig at the Congress, he said the party which once ruled from panchayat to Parliament is now depending on small parties for "survival". Modi recalled that the Congress in its Pachmarhi conclave in 1998 had shown its "arrogance" by speaking against keeping any alliance and asserted that it has now been forced to ally with other parties not to form government but to remain alive. Referring to conflict among the opposition parties, he said everybody knows how the Left had treated Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee and how she as chief minister has been treating its leaders. Expressing confidence that BJP will do well in south India, a region where the party has generally fared poorly except in Karnataka, Modi said it will put up its best ever show in Tamil Nadu, citing its alliance with the ruling AIADMK. Asking party workers to shun negativity and fake news on social media, he said they should spread positivity, be honest and precise. The social media has emerged as a democratic platform where everybody can have a say, he added. Top party leaders, including its president Amit Shah and chief ministers of different states, attended the video-interaction which, the BJP had said, would involve over one crore people. PTI KR SMN

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