The culture of corruption will not be tolerated any longer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said, declaring that his government will initiate tough steps to deal with the menace while pushing for all-round development of the country.
"It (corruption) is worse than even cancer and can destroy the country. The country is not willing to tolerate the evil any longer.... Should strong steps not be taken to remove corruption. We will take those steps," he said addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Rs 1,393-crore national highway project linking Haryana with Rajasthan.
On his first visit to poll-bound Haryana after becoming Prime Minister, Modi said that development was the only way to take the country forward and address the various problems faced by the people, including that of unemployment.
He countered the criticism from some that he had not mentioned corruption in his first Independence Day address at the Red Fort on August 15.
"Some people said that I did not say anything about corruption in my address on Independence Day. Let me remind them, I had talked about the mera kya (What about me), mujhe kya (It does not concern me) culture of corruption which has ruined this country. This has to change now," he asserted.
"You tell me if we should take tough measures against it (corruption). I need your blessings. With your blessings, I will rid the country of this disease," said Modi.
He also warned those indulging in corruption.
"Rains come and roads disappear. Nobody knows where the money goes...,' he said while pointing to irregularities and asserted that the "earlier attitude" of paying bribes won't be tolerated.
In the run up to the last Lok Sabha elections, Modi had consistently attacked the preious UPA government on the various scams and had vowed to take steps to tackle corruption.
Modi today emphasised on having latest infrastructure for development of the nation.
"A nation which has to follow the path of development gives priority to its infrastructure like railways, airports and roads," he said.
The Prime Minister said that it is important to connect the rural and urban India with optical fibre network, gas, water and power grids and provide better infrastructure to the people.
The function was attended by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who was left red faced as a hostile crowd hooted him in Modi's presence. Later, the angry Congress leader said he would boycott such events with PM.
As Hooda hurriedly continued to read out from his prepared speech, Modi waved to the crowds urging them to remain calm but the people did not relent and the chief minister's speech was lost in the din.
Holding that NDA's "priority" was development, the Prime Minister said, "If there is all round development, the country will surge ahead."
He said that his government was keen to take the benefits of modern technology to the villages.
Seeking to woo the people of Haryana where assembly election are due later this year, Modi said he has special affection for the state and he will return their "love with interest" by carrying out developmental works.
"I know Haryana as much as I know Gujarat," said Modi, who had worked for the party in the state earlier.
He also talked about the connect between his state and Haryana, saying the lands of Dwarka and Kurukshetra are synonymous with Lord Krishna.
BJP had bagged seven out of 10 seats in the state in the recent Lok Sabha elections and has mounted a strong challenge to dislodge Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government in coming polls.
Modi said his government will resume the central developmental projects in the state, which have been delayed for years, and expedite them.
Reaching out to farmers, he announced a new irrigation scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna, saying farmers fill up granaries and his government will ensure that their pockets are also filled, which is presently not the case.
He said that agriculture had to be made profit oriented so that farmers are benefited by selling their produce. He said that the irrigation scheme will ensure each farmer's land gets sufficient water to irrigate his fields.
Highlighting the importance of national highways in the development of a state, he said areas around them in Haryana have developed but as one goes farther from them, the lack of progress is visible.
He said there is need to have modernisation in agriculture sector and emphasis should be laid on livestock management. Also youths in villages must be benefited by long distance education through modern technology.
Modi said that for development of any nation, it is important that it has a strong network of roads.
He said that four laning of Haryana-Rajasthan highway would not only provide better roads but also lead to development and create employment opportunities for both the states and for the nation.
"Improved road network gives fillip to development of a nation," he noted.
Modi said that today common man of the country wants change and is striving for development of the nation that matches international standards.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari announced projects worth Rs 10,000 crore for Haryana and promised that pending projects in the state will be completed.
He said that state will be provided with maintenance free concrete roads and skill development centres to provide employment to the people.
Gadkari also said that in the coming two years, it is targeted that various Departments under his Ministry will contribute 2 per cent to the country’s GDP.
Union Minister of State for Transport and Highways Krishan Pal Gurjar, Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and Haryana Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala were among others present on the occasion.