Varanasi, May 1: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today charged the Congress-led governments of the past with pursuing "vote bank politics" and naming schemes after members of one family and reached out to the numerically significant Nishad community in Uttar Pradesh as he launched solar-powered boats for plying on river Ganga.
Addressing a gathering on the famous Assi Ghat on the banks of the river Ganges here, Modi said "Our approach is in stark contrast with the governments of the past which cared only for vote banks and devised poverty alleviation schemes which never aimed at eradicating poverty as such but only garnering votes of the poor during elections".
Without naming the Nehru-Gandhi family by name, the Prime Minister recalled that after the launch of seven satellites recently, "we felt a desire to name these after Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Shayma Prasad Mukherjee.
"After all, have we not seen so many schemes being named after members of just one family. But ultimately we heeded the call of our conscience and called these satellites Navik which means boatman".
"In this way we have aimed at imparting dignity to the boatmen who have rendered invaluable service towards making the ancient city of Kashi famous around the world", he said.
"Earlier when something was talked about our Nishad brothers, the price of diesel was brought down by one rupee or so in the hope that they will cast their vote in favour. But we have made schemes, which empower the poor to fight and defeat the poverty themselves. We are working in that direction," he said, listing a number of other schemes.
Reaching out to the backward fishermen and boatmen communities (kevat, nishad, machchuara) and addressing them as "brothers", the Prime Minister said his government is "for the poor". Modi, who is also the local Lok Sabha member, was speaking after the launch of "e-boats", which are traditional motorboats wherein diesel engines are replaced with batteries which are charged through solar panels retrofitted on the top.