In a veiled dig at the Congress, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said while some divided India along caste and religious lines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi focussed on progress.
Speaking at a programme where he inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of over 2,042 development projects worth Rs 8,754 crore here, Adityanath said, "While we are spending money on development, Pakistan is struggling for food." Adityantah was referring to the ongoing economic crisis in Pakistan.
He also praised the prime minister's efforts during COVID-19 and said Uttar Pradesh is now benefitting from the schemes introduced during the pandemic. In an apparent reference to the Spanish flu of 1918, Adityanath said a "pandemic like this" had already struck 100 years ago in which people died not only of illness but also starvation.
"During the Covid pandemic, free vaccinations, tests, rations and facilities were made available to the people for the first time in the history of the country, thanks to PM Modi's leadership," he said.
Describing it as a successful model that was being praised globally, Adityanath launched a veiled dig at the Congress and said "it would serve well to open the eyes of all those who divided Independent India on the basis of caste, region and language and made false promises".
"Those who seek to divide the nation along lines of caste, creed and religion have nothing to do with progress. They don't care about the underprivileged -- they are only interested in themselves," he said.
Describing the progress made by the municipal bodies, he said, "Historic work has been done in the past six years to improve the lives of people under 'ease of living' and it will continue on a war footing in the future. Our urban bodies have become the axis of this state's transformation."
He also stressed on the importance of development projects and claimed that the cost of the projects being introduced was equivalent to the annual budgets of some states. Efforts are being made to transform urban life in the state, Adityanath said, pointing to seven municipal corporations from Uttar Pradesh being included in the Smart City Mission.
He also congratulated everyone on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti and the BJP's 43rd foundation day. "The largest political party in the world, the BJP, was founded today. Although we do not mention the name of political parties in government events, the BJP has done the work of reaching different sections of the society without discrimination under the leadership of PM Modi," he said.
During the programme, Adityanath handed over the keys of houses to PMAY (Urban) beneficiaries. He also announced that a committee under the chief secretary's supervision had been formed to ensure a good honorarium to sanitation workers, adding that a state-level board would be constituted if there is a need.
"The sanitation workers must get the respect they deserve. In particular, the government will ensure the arrangement for the security of sewers, along with the provision of additional honorarium for them," he added. Adityanath said a state's economy cannot gain momentum without urban development and added that no one should be deprived of development.
"Ambassadors, or any person from anywhere in the world visiting Lucknow today praise the city for its cleanliness. Prosperity will exist where there is cleanliness on one hand and security on the other," he said. The chief minister also launched several books related to the state's urban digital mission, the Swachh Bharat Mission's progress, cow protection, and a manual to protect dogs.
Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak, Energy and Urban Development Minister AK Sharma, and Minister of State for Urban Development Rakesh Rathore 'Guru' were present on the occasion.