New Delhi, Dec 15:
In the wake of defeat by the Congress in Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland, with agrarian crisis as a major poll plank against his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of paying only "lip service" to farmers while ignoring their welfare.
Video-interacting with booth workers from Tamil Nadu, Modi also hit out at the Congress for treating national security and defence sector as "a punching bag or a funding source".
"If you ask me, what is among the most satisfying things of being in government, I would say it is to work for our hardworking farmers. After all, it is the farmers who are our 'annadatas' (food providers).
"We are not like the Congress, which will only pay lip service to farmers but ignore their well-being. Wherever the Congress is in power, farmers suffer," said Modi interacting with booth workers from Kanyakumari, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Namakkal and Salem.
"Four years ago, farmers asked for urea, but all they got was stick. Farmers asked for higher minimum support prices (MSP), but all they got was empty promises. Farmers asked for increased incomes, but all they got was insensitivity," alleged Modi.
Modi's remarks come in the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) losing the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan to the Congress which promised waiving farm loans in all the three states within 10 days of coming to power.
Crediting his government for boosting the morale of the armed forces, Modi also targeted the Congress which has been relentless in attacking him over alleged financial and procedural irregularities in the Rafale fighter jets deal with France.
"Sadly, for the Congress, national security and the defence sector are either a punching bag or a funding source," he said.
"Congress leaders call the Army chief names and mock the (2016) surgical strike, on one hand.
"On the other hand, they have looted the defence sector from the Jeep scam back in the 1940s and 50s to Bofors scam in the 80s, the AgustaWestland and submarine scam, among many others," he said, adding: "All they see is the way to make money even if it means that the morale of our forces is affected."
"The surgical strikes show how capable our forces are to give a strong answer to those who attack us," added Modi.