Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveling in Kanpur Metro, in Kanpur on Tuesday. Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are also seen. (ANI Photo)
KANPUR/LUCKNOW: PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday traced arrested Kanpur perfume trader Piyush Jain’s Rs 284-crore unaccounted money trail to the “scent of corruption” in UP before 2017 and dared the Samajwadi Party leadership to “take credit for it”, just as they have been doing for every project completed by BJP.
“Par ab woh muh pe tala laga ke baithe hain…credit lene nahi aa rahe hain (They are now tight-lipped and not coming forward to take credit for this, too),” Modi told a gathering at the Nirala Nagar railway ground after inaugurating the first leg of the Kanpur Metro.
“Bundles of currency notes (seized from Jain’s premises) were the only achievement of the opposition (when it was in government),” he said, alluding to the scandal. Jain was arrested on Sunday after raids on his premises in Kanpur and Kannauj led to the huge cash haul, besides 25kg of gold and 250kg of silver.
The PM’s salvo at SP comes two days after BJP claimed Jain had links with the party, a charge the latter promptly denied. Ex-CM Akhilesh Yadav’s party has positioned itself squarely against BJP in the high-stakes assembly polls early next year.
Modi said parties whose “economic policies are driven by corruption and patronage to criminals” could not be expected to put the state on the path to development. “For previous governments, coming to power meant hitting the jackpot.
They would then loot the state.” Pointing out that establishing the rule of law was the primary prerequisite for industrial investment, the PM said erstwhile state governments would let loose “mafia rule” instead, triggering the closure of even the existing industries. He said the people of UP were aware of how public money had been swindled in the name of projects.
Modi said BJP’s “double engine government” was “compensating for that loss” by working at “double speed”, citing the country’s largest airport in Jewar, roads like the Purvanchal and Ganga expressways, the country’s rapid road transit system and a dedicated freight corridor as examples of this. “This government knows how to fix big targets and meet them,” he said, referring to timely completion of a project as the most proper utilisation of public money for the benefit of the people. He said piped water, which had eluded crores of houses in UP, was becoming a reality through Har Ghar Jal Mission.
The PM said it was disheartening to see the opposition having problems with every step taken by the government. “Which is why they are opposed to steps taken for empowerment of women, be it the law against ‘triple talaq’ or increasing the marriageable age of girls.” UP, which had attained the dubious distinction of being the storehouse of illegal weapons, was now poised to have a defence corridor, Modi declared. The PM said before 2014, Metro rail was available in only five Indian cities. “Today, UP alone has five cities with Metro rail facilities.”