Aizawl: Two days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had stated that Mizo culture would be ‘destroyed’ if the BJP was voted to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday here accused the Congress leader of spreading such unfounded fear, and instead accused the opposition parties of belittling and abusing indigenous cultures of the Northeast.
“The Congress has this habit of creating a fear psychosis. But I feel a deep sense of anguish when I see the leaders of the Cong party abuse your traditions. When I wear various local dresses gifted across the Northeast, they call it outlandish, poor and strange. Congress leaders talk big things in the Northeast, but this is the real face of Congress leaders. It is proof they give no value to your thoughts, hopes and aspirations. The Congress is only interested in power, only interested in protecting their seat of power,” Modi said. He was addressing a BJP rally at Lunglei, about 175 km south of the state capital.
Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday said at a Congress election rally in Champhai that the RSS-BJP subscribed to an idea of imposing one culture across India, and that it would adversely affect the culture of the Mizos. “They (BJP-RSS) want to destroy the culture, language and expression of different peoples of India,” Gandhi had said on Tuesday.
Allaying such fears allegedly spread by the Congress, Modi said that the BJP government believed in inclusive growth, and would ensure that the rights of the Mizo people as enshrined in the Constitution of India were protected. “You have a rich culture and tradition. You people have preserved your language, music, food habit and attire. I admire communities like you which have protected and enriched their language and culture that have deep roots,’ he said.
Modi also accused the Congress of following a divide-and-rule policy, and said it was for this reason that the people across India have rejected that party. “There was a time when the Congress had ruled in most states of the country. Today it is left with only two or three states,” he said, asking the voters of Mizoram to take the ‘golden opportunity’ of the ensuing election to oust the Congress from the state.
Modi called the Congress government of Mizoram as corrupt and said the CAG had exposed the Congress government for mishandling huge sums of money in the name of New Land Use Policy. “The CAG has exposed how funds of NLUP have been misused. The Congress government has distributed government funds to few individuals in the name of implementing the New Economic Development programme. The Congress has only made some party leaders rich in the name of eradicating poverty in Mizoram,” Modi said.
“Funds worth Rs 250 crore for centrally-supported schemes have not been properly utilized. The Congress government of Mizoram has failed to provide utilization certificate for another sum of Rs 150 crore provided by the NEC. Likewise, of 28 of 46 central schemes and 20 of 36 NEC projects are much behind schedule just because of the work culture of the Congress,” he said.
Modi tried his best to draw attention of the young voters by focusing in various development schemes including the Act East Policy that have begun generating huge employment and livelihood opportunities in the region. He also described the sports potential of Mizoram and said the state, along with other NE states, had already begun contributing towards India becoming a global sporting power.
The BJP government, he said, had earmarked Rs 90,000 crore for connectivity infrastructure development in the Northeast. Of this, over Rs 5000 crore was for the Bairabi-Sairang railway project in Mizoram which would be completed in the next 12 to 18 months, he said. “The BJP has been developing highways, waterways, airways and I-ways in the Northeast in a never-before pace, and Mizoram cannot afford to lag behind,” he said.
“Mizoram is a powerhouse of sports. This is a big centre of football. It is said that child in Mizoram learns to kick first, only then utters the word roti,” Modi said, referring to the BJP’s commitment to promote sports and games in the state.
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