North-East got its respect only after advent of PM Modi's government in 2014: Smriti Irani
Mariani, Mar 13: Union Textiles minister Smriti Zubin Irani on Saturday described Congress as the "most corrupt party" and appealed to the people to vote for the BJP to continue to avail benefits of various central and state schemes.
Addressing her maiden election rally in Assam, she said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal have rolled out a number of schemes, benefiting the poor people of the state. "...there is no one more corrupt than Congress.
"Only BJP is the party, which works for the benefit of the poors. The BJP government has worked tirelessly for the people in tea gardens across the state," said Irani, also the Minister of Women and Child Development.
Irani said the Congress did not do much for the development of the northeast, and it was only after Modi government came to power in 2014, the region got its respect, dignity and due recognition.
Irani had defeated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his home turf of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in 2019 general election. Listing out a series of schemes launched by the central and state governments, she said the Congress government never worked for the poor people and appealed to the people to vote for the BJP in the assembly polls.
Without naming former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Irani said, "There are some tall leaders of Congress from Assam and they even became the PM. But, AIIMS came to Assam only during Narendra Modi's tenure."
She was in Mariani, which is going to polls in the first phase on March 27, to campaign for BJP candidate Ramani Tanti, who will have a direct contest with the sitting three-time heavyweight Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi. Irani said the northeastern region has been witnessing turnaround with the arrival of Modi government in 2014.
"When the Congress was at the Centre, it did not even release the Rs 60,000 crore to Assam under the 13th Finance Commission. But, when the Narendra Modi government came, it released Rs 1,70,000 crore under the 15th Finance Commission," she claimed.
It is the fortune of the people of Assam that they have Modi at the centre and Sonowal in the state as both of them are working continuously for the development of the region, the union minister said. She pointed out that the tea garden workers' minimum wage before 2014 was Rs 97, which has been raised to Rs 217 now.
"For the pregnant women of tea gardens, we were giving Rs 12,000 and this has been raised to Rs 18,000. More than 50,000 women got this benefit in Assam. So, please vote for such a government, which has done so much work for you," Irani said.
She also mentioned other schemes like financial aid to women Self Help Groups (SHGs), healthcare facilities in tea gardens, educational scholarships to meritorious students and reservation for tea garden students in medical studies.
"During the pandemic, 80 crore people got free ration and 22 crore women got Rs 30,000 crore in their accounts," Irani said. She asserted that had there been a Congress government during the pandemic, such benefits would have never been given to the people of the country because "no one is more corrupt than Congress".
Irani also attacked the Congress for joining hands with Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF to form an alliance and said "this party is attacking the culture, language and civilisation of Assam".
The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, has formed a Grand Alliance with AIUDF, Bodoland People's Front (BPF), CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party (JPP) to fight the three-phase assembly elections against the BJP- led NDA.