Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday told BJP MPs that his government was focused on serving the poor and asked them to believe in the people and nobody else.
Addressing a workshop of BJP MPs on welfare of the poor, Modi took a jibe at his critics and said there were some with a "congenital habit" of criticising the BJP and those "with perverted mindset" were spreading "lies" about the initiatives of the government, including the land acquisition bill.
Modi said his government's decisions were guided by "rashtra neeti" (national interest) and not "rajneeti" (politics) and called upon the MPs to directly connect with the poor. Modi addressed the MPs hours before Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi addressed a farmers' rally here in which they accused the National Democratic Alliance government of being "anti-farmer", "anti-poor" and "pro-industralists".
The prime minister asked the MPs to spread the word about the benefits of government schemes and said the government was committed to providing "housing for all" and schools and hospitals for the poor. Referring to the losses faced by the farmers due to unseasonal rains, Modi said the government had increased input subsidy by 50 percent and relaxed eligibility criterion for relief. He said procurement norms had been relaxed to allow procurement of wheat crop which lost its sheen. Modi said decisions taken by the government for the benefit of the poor were not being duly publicised.
Modi took a veiled dig at former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for his remarks that only 15 paise in a rupee sent from the Centre reaches the beneficiaries and said task of a leader was not just to diagnose a disease but to treat it. He said the BJP was in power to serve the people and not for comforts of power. "We have not come here for power, we are here to serve the country," he said, adding that the government was committed to the welfare of the poor.
The prime minister said his government wanted that more money should go to the rural areas and the purchasing power of people there should also increase.
He said the US, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have recognised India as the fastest growing economy. Citing data about drop of inflation since his government came to power in May last year, Modi said drop in prices help the poor. "Everything is so clear," he said.
Referring to the schemes initiated by his government for the benefit of the poor, including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and toilets for all, Modi said MPs should see that schemes were being effectively implemented in their areas and the intended benefits reached the poor.
Modi appreciated the role played by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V.K. Singh (retd) in successful evacuation of citizens from violence-hit Yemen. Modi said the agreements with France and Canada during his visit abroad would have a huge impact in the coming days. The prime minister said successive governments had tried to push through the nuclear deals but these had materialised only during his visit.