Namaskar. My hearty greetings and best wishes for you, your family and your friends.
The process of electing the 15th Lok Sabha has begun. The people of India once again have an opportunity to decide the fate of our great nation. Democracy is superior to other forms of government because it allows the praja to elect the raja. However, remember one thing. To vote is not only a fundamental right, it is also a sacred duty. Therefore, first of all, I appeal to you to cast your vote without fail.
Today India is facing severe and multiple challenges, both internal and external. The wrong policies and weak leadership of the Congress-led UPA government have aggravated the problems before the nation. The aam aadmi, to whom tall promises were made five years ago, is feeling thoroughly betrayed.
The government’s biggest failure has been in checking the prices of essential commodities and services. Rice, wheat, dal, cooking oil, sugar, milk, vegetables – the prices of all these have touched the sky. Which mother can be happy if her children go hungry? Yet, crores of poor children suffer from hunger and malnutrition in our country.
The government had promised to create one crore jobs each year. Far from creating new jobs, it created a severe economic crisis. More than one crore jobs have been lost in the last year alone. I am especially pained to see that the future of our young people is clouded by uncertainty and despair.
Thousands of debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide to escape their misery. This is a national shame. The rural-urban divide, as well as the poor-rich divide, have become wider than ever before. According to a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, the wealth of 20 richest Kubers in India is more than the earnings of 30 crore poorest Sudamas. This, you will agree with me, is simply unacceptable.
Several vital infrastructure development schemes, such as the National Highway Development Project and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, both initiated by the BJP-led NDA government headed by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, have been neglected. Acute shortage of power has stunted India.
Corruption in the central government reached unprecedented levels. Parliament witnessed a shocking scandal of political corruption last year, when the government resorted to unethical means to prove its majority. Even the high office of Prime Minister has been devalued.
Cross-border terrorism claimed more innocent lives in the past five years than at any time in the past. Blinded by its own vote-bank considerations, those in power showed no political will to fight terrorism.
The situation in India’s immediate neighbourhood is deteriorating. Anti-India forces are on the rise and getting closer to our border. This poses a serious threat to our national security.
Thus, at a time when India is facing both internal and external challenges, it simply cannot afford to have another indecisive government with a weak leadership.
My dear countrymen,
My party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and our partners in the National Democratic Alliance, are seeking your mandate by committing ourselves to the principles of GOOD GOVERNANCE, DEVELOPMENT & SECURITY.
A future NDA government, if elected, will adopt a “Zero Tolerance” approach to fighting terrorism.
We shall combat corruption, especially in high places, so that the poor get the full benefit of the public funds spent for their welfare.
The performance of our state governments in Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, has attracted widespread admiration.
Let me mention today some of our important promises to the people of India.
Making India hunger-free is our priority. Therefore, we shall provide 35kg of rice or wheat every month at Rs 2 per kg to all BPL families.
I have seen a tremendous desire for development in all sections of society, both in rural and urban areas. Our people’s priorities are bijlee, sadak, paani, swasthya, shiksha and, above all, employment. These are also my priorities. Our commitment is: Har haath ko kaam, Har khet ko paani.
Our most ambitious project will be linking of rivers. This was initiated by the NDA government, but completely abandoned by the UPA government. We promise to make the right to clean water a fundamental right.
Expanding and modernizing India’s badly neglected infrastructure is a task we shall take up on a war footing. This will boost economic growth and generate crores of new employment opportunities. In this, we shall give special attention to those states and regions of India, which have remained backward and neglected.
There will be no more any delays in the completion of highway and rural roads projects. We shall also quadruple power generation and ensure adequate power supply to every farm, every factory, and every home.
Internet is one of the greatest inventions in mankind’s history. I believe that the rural population should not be deprived of the revolutionary benefits of Information Technology. Therefore, we will provide affordable broadband Internet connectivity to every village. All educational institutions will have Internet-enabled education in their respective Indian languages. We have drawn up a plan to create 1.2 crore IT-enabled jobs in rural areas.
Jai Jawan Jai Kisan is a slogan that still touches the heart of every patriotic Indian. We have responded to the longpending demand of ex-servicemen by promising them one rank one pension.
We shall waive agricultural loans. We shall provide farm loans at 4% interest rate. Our hard-working kisans will get fair and remunerative prices for all their crops.
Women’s education and welfare have always been close to my heart. We will introduce the ‘Ladli Lakshmi’ Scheme to enable every girl child to go to school. Under this scheme, every girl will receive Rs. 1.18 lakh after 12th standard.
We shall exempt personal Income Tax for those earning up to Rs 3 lakh per annum. For women and Senior Citizens, the exemption will be Rs 3.5 lakh per annum. This will benefit over 3.5 crore people.
We will double the salaries of 28 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers.
Today I wish to make another solemn commitment. We will take firm steps to bring back Indian money stashed away in foreign banks. Estimated at Rs. 25 lakh crore, this amount will be enough to complete road and power connectivity throughout the country. It is sufficient to allocate Rs 4 crore to every Indian village. It can be used for ambitious national projects, such as cleaning the sacred Ganga and other rivers.
The BJP and NDA are deeply committed to the principle of ‘Justice for All and Discrimination against None’. We shall work tirelessly for the welfare and empowerment of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, and the poor in all sections of society, including the religious minorities.
We want to extend the benefit of reservations for the economically backward sections in all those communities, which are not so far covered by the policy of reservations.
To fulfill these promises is my solemn assurance to you. Today India deserves a strong and stable government, which follows the right policies and implements them with honesty and a sense of urgency. Electing such a government with a decisive mandate is the single most important task before the voters. Give our alliance a decisive victory. It will not be our victory, but your victory and India’s victory.
Since my student days, I have believed that India has the potential to emerge as a leading nation in the world, a land of peace, prosperity, justice and social harmony. This belief has strengthened with every passing year. It is my conviction that together we can make, the 21st century India’s century.
Monday, April 27, 2009
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