Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the plantation workers of Assam and West Bengal that a conspiracy was afoot to damage the reputation of India’s tea.
Addressing a public rally in Sonitpur in Assam on Sunday (February 7), as part of his campaigning efforts for the upcoming assembly elections, the PM said, “People who are conspiring to defame India have stooped so low that they are not sparing even Indian tea. You must have heard in news that these conspirators are vowing to malign the image of Indian tea in a systematic manner across the world.”
Assam is known for its tea, especially the red tea of Sonitpur is unparalleled, said PM Modi, adding that he personally knows about the famed tea. But, he has documents that reveal that some people outside India are trying to malign India’s tea and thereby the nation’s image, he said.
“Will you accept this attack? You will accept the people involved in this attack? Will you accept those praising these attackers?” he went on to ask the crowd. He was ostensibly reaching out to the tea garden workers of Assam and West Bengal, when he said they will seek answers from political parties that are allegedly backing those behind such machinations.
“Every tea garden, every tea worker will seek answers from those political parties behind the conspirators,” Modi said. He did not elaborate on this “conspiracy”, however the Prime Minister referred to it in the context of the budgetary allocation of ₹ 1,000 crore for a welfare scheme for the plantation workers.
This is Modi’s second visit to the poll bound states of Assam and West Bengal in the past two weeks, as the BJP ramps up its campaigning efforts ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.
In Assam, the Prime Minister inaugurated several key infrastructural projects worth ₹ 7,700 crore in Assam’s Tezpur, and laid the foundation stone of two hospitals at Biswanath and Charaideo. He also launched ‘Asom Mala’, a multi-crore scheme for state highways and major district roads, at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district.
Talking on the subject of medical colleges, the Prime Minister said that it was his dream that one day each state in the country will have at least one medical college, where the medium of instruction is a regional language.
There is no dearth of talent in the villages and far-flung areas, he said. “I have a dream that in every state there should be at least one medical college, one technical college where education will be imparted in regional language, can one not become a good doctor studying in Assamese?” he asked. He went on to promise the people of Assam that his government will establish a medical and technical college in the local language when they are voted to power.
Modi also said that since independence for seven decades Assam had six medical collages. But in the past five years, they have started to build six more medical colleges. With this additions, Assam will get 1,600 MBBS doctors every year, the Prime Minister added.
Speaking about the recent development projects undertaken in the state of Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Northeast is heading on the road of development and Assam is playing a significant role in it. Assam is an example of how collective efforts yield good results.”
While inaugurating the Asom Mala scheme, which has an outlay of ₹ 8,210 crore and will provide inter-linkage between highways and rural roads and high speed corridors, the Prime Minister said this scheme will lead to creation of new opportunities, PTI reported. Modi also said Asom Mala is in sync with the national Bharatmala project that seeks to connect over 500 districts of the country with four-lane highways.
The Prime Minister’s meeting venue, Sonitpur’s Dhekiajuli was significant since it is a historic place where 13 persons were martyred during the Quit India movement during British rule. Recalling their sacrifice, Modi, who is the first prime minister to visit the place, said, “In this land, people of Assam defeated the aggressors. Today, I got the opportunity to pay respect to this historic land of Dhekiajuli.” He went on to quote legendary Assamese composer and singer Bhupen Hazarika in this context to say that “today the lions of India are awakening”.
Later today, the Prime Minister will visit West Bengal too, where he will address his first election rally in the run up to the state assembly polls. Significantly, the event will be held in Haldia, East Midnapur, the stronghold of Suvendu Adhikari, the former Trinamool minister who defected to the BJP in December.
Later, the Prime Minister will inaugurate four oil-and-gas projects worth ₹ 4,700 crore in Haldia. The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has allegedly excused herself from the event,
Modi will inaugurate an LPG import terminal built by the state-run BPCL in Haldia, which will cater to the growing requirement of LPG in West Bengal and other states in eastern and north-eastern India. He will also lay the foundation stone for a crucial project for the Haldia refinery of the Indian Oil Corporation.
Another project to be inaugurated by the prime minister is a four-lane ROB-cum-flyover at Ranichak in Haldia on NH 41. Built at the cost of ₹190 crore, the PMO said. “These projects are in line with Prime Minister’s vision of Purvodaya, of driving growth of the eastern India.”