January 28, 2017 8:51:03 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday appealed to the people of Goa to ensure the BJP government is voted back to power, assuring the state that the Union government will do all it can to make Goa an ideal tourism state. “I promise you that if you give us a comfortable majority, we will make Goa the most comfortable state in the country,” the Prime Minister said, urging the electorate to put an end to the ‘sickness’ of political instability in the state.
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Addressing an audience of over 35,000 people – brought in from all 40 constituencies – Prime Minister Modi said for Goa’s economic development, both, the Centre and the state government are working shoulder-to-shoulder to better tourism. While the rally at the Sports Authority Grounds in Panaji was to begin at around 3.30 pm, it was delayed till 4.30 pm, with the Prime Minister arriving a few minutes before 5 pm. In his 30-odd minute speech, Modi highlighted the steps taken by the Centre to improve tourist arrivals in the state, saying facilities such as visa on arrival and e-visa have ensured that Goa benefited the most. Modi also claimed that demonetisation did not have an adverse effect on the tourism industry in Goa.
Modi also had a word of praise for Defence Minister and former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, to which the crowd roared in applause. “Desh ko mazboot rakshamantri diya hai Goa ne, poora vishwa surgical strike ki charcha kar raha hai (Goa has given the country a strong defence minister, the entire world is still talking about the surgical strikes),” the Prime Minister said.
The BJP leader also hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party – the latest entrant in the Goa election – questioning why it was contesting the polls if it did not have faith in the Election Commission. “Some people find pleasure in splitting votes. These vote-cutters are the pick-pockets of democracy. If you don’t trust the umpire, why come to play? Should elections be contested while debating issues such as how EC decided the date of the election?…. We can have differences of opinion but that does not mean we need to deviate from the core issue of India’s development,” Modi said, referring to AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations in Punjab that it was the PMO which decides election dates and not the Election Commission.
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Modi also targetted the Opposition for its unwillingness to accept the benefits of demonetisation. “Mujhe zulm isi baat ka ho raha hai kyunki unhe pareshaani ho rahi hai, 70 saal ka unka jama kiya hua, Modi nikaal raha hai.”
On the Opposition to the Union budget being presented before the assembly elections, Modi said certain opposition parties were already preparing their drafts to target the Centre the moment the budget is announced.
Also present at the rally were Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Shripad Naik, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza.
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