New Delhi: Setting development and poverty eradication as agenda for the next Uttar Pradesh elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked previous governments for not doing much despite many prime ministers being elected from Uttar Pradesh.
Launching a Rs 8,000 crore scheme to provide 5 crore free LPG connection to poor families in Ballia, eastern UP, on Sunday, the prime minister said, “There were many promises and policies were made. But these schemes were not framed keeping in mind the interest of poor. Rather, the focus was on ballot box (election).,”
Talking about abject poverty in eastern Uttar Pradesh, he said, “In 1955, in Nehru’s presence, an MP from Ghazipur raised the issue of people washing cow dung to find grain to eat. After that, a Patel commission was set which gave many recommendation for the state. Now after 50 years, what happened to those suggestions, god knows.”
Poverty, he said, can be eradicated only if poor are empowered, given resources and opportunities as well as education, jobs, houses, drinking water and electricity.
He questioned the policies pursued by the previous government for poverty eradication, saying poverty has only increased during past years.
“We are working to fight poverty,” he said, adding under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, free LPG connections will be provided in the name of women members of BPL households.
In the first year, 1.5 crore such connections will be released and the target of 5 crore will be completed in three years, he said, comparing it to the just 13 crore LPG connections provided in 60 years of independence.
Taking a dig at speculations that this event was organised to launch the state election campaign, he said, “Those who are political pundits are saying that Modi has come here for sounding the election bugle. But I have not come here to launch the election campaign. I chose Ballia for the launch of the scheme as the district’s average gas connection penetration is 8 out of 100, which is one of the lowest in the country.”
Under the scheme, a financial support of Rs 1,600 for each LPG connection will be provided to the BPL households. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the state governments and the Union Territories.
The polls in the state are due in 2017 as the term of the assembly ends in May.
(With Agency Inputs)