Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Kerala, held an impressive rally upon his arrival in Kochi on Monday (April 24) evening.
Dressed in the traditional attire of Kerala, Modi received a rousing welcome after he arrived with thousands of people, including BJP workers and supporters, lining up on both sides of the nearly two-kilometre long route of his road show from the INS Garuda naval air station to the venue of a youth programme.
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Modi landed at the naval air station after 5 PM and commenced his road show from there around 5.40 PM.
Modi intially began the road show on foot and waved to the people on both sides of the road along the route which was under a tight security net, with thousands of police personnel being deployed to ensure the prime minister’s safety.
This was a deviation from the prime minister’s usual practice of riding an open-top vehicle during roadshows. The bold decision to hold the rally on foot despite a suicide bomb attack threat against Modi, also showed the BJP’s determination to make inroads into Kerala in the upcoming polls.
People of all age groups from various parts of the state were lined up on both sides of the road, hours in advance, to welcome Modi and showered him with flowers.
Modi later addressed youth at the ‘Yuvam 2o23’ conclave in Kochi.
He said youth power was the driving force of India’s development journey as youngsters were instrumental in transforming the country into one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Modi said that once upon a time India was one of the ‘Fragile Five’ countries, but the power of youth has transformed it into one of the fastest-growing economies.
“However, today India is known as one of the fastest-growing economies. It’s because of the youth, and therefore I strongly believe in the youth of my country. I have faith in them,” he said.
Stating that everyone was now saying that the 21st century is India’s century and the nation had a treasure of youth power, Modi said that the BJP and the youth of the country shared the same wavelength. “We bring reforms and the youth bring the results,” he said.
Taking a swipe at opposition parties, Modi said that while former governments were “known for corruption”, the BJP government was creating new opportunities for youngsters. “We aim to create a self-sustainable society,” he said, adding that the BJP government at the Centre was working by keeping the interests of youngsters in mind.
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Citing an example of it, he recalled the recent decision of the Centre to hold exams for the constable post in the Central Armed Police Forces in 13 more languages, including Malayalam, other than Hindi and English. “Earlier, people used to think that nothing will change in India, but today our country can change the entire world,” he said. “Today’s Atmanirbhar India talks about Digital India,” he added.
Meets heads of churches
Later in the evening, the prime minister also met heads of eight Christian churches in the state.
Modi’s visit comes days after the BJP concluded its ‘Sneha Yatra,’ a minority outreach programme by the party as part of which leaders visited the homes of Christians and Muslims during Easter and Eid.
Modi during his visit is expected to flag off a Vande Bharat Express, and lay the foundation stone for the country’s first Digital Science Park. Besides laying the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Thiruvananthapuram, Varkala Sivagiri and Kozhikode at a cost of ₹1,140 crore, he is also slated to announce a ₹1,900 crore rail project
Also read: Kerala governor on why he didn’t receive Modi at Kochi airport; says no official event
(With inputs from agencies)