Hitting out at previous governments in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said gangsters and criminals used to play their own games here earlier but the Yogi Adityanath government now plays "jail-jail" with them.
Addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for Major Dhyan Chand Sports University here, PM Modi said, "During previous governments, criminals used to play their games and the mafias used to play their own."
“Earlier, there used to be tournaments of illegal land grabbing. People making obscene remarks at daughters used to roam freely," he said, adding people living in Meerut and adjoining areas can never forget how houses used to be set ablaze here.
“The result of these games played by earlier governments was that people were forced to leave their ancestral homes and there was an exodus,” the prime minister claimed.
"Now, the Yogi government is playing 'jail-jail' with such criminals. Five years ago, the daughters of Meerut used to fear leaving their homes after evening. Today, the daughters of Meerut are bringing laurels to the entire country," Modi said.
Taking an apparent dig at Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, Modi said, "The role of the government should be that of a guardian. Competence should be encouraged. In the event of youths committing a mistake, it should not be ignored by saying 'boys do make mistakes’.”
The Prime Minister apparently referred to a remark made by SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav a few years ago.
Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government ruled the state from 2012 and was succeeded by the BJP government in 2017.
Referring to the infamous Sotiganj Market of Meerut, which specialised in dismantling stolen cars and selling its parts, Modi said, "There has been 'the end' to the game played with vehicles in the market. Real sports are getting encouragement in UP. The youths of UP are getting an opportunity to make their presence felt in the sports world.”
Accusing the previous governments of not making efforts to change the 'narrow' mindset towards sports, Modi said the sports world was marred by maladies like games of nepotism, casteism, corruption and discrimination earlier at every level right from the training to team selection.
The governments in the country earlier never bothered to build a better ecosystem for evolving technology, changing demands and evolving capacity, he added.
Attacking previous governments, he said the sugar mills were sold at throwaway prices in UP.
"But during the Yogi government, new mills are being opened instead of plants being shut down. Those who were earlier in power used to literally make you hanker to get payments for sugarcane price."
He also said the payment made to farmers during the Yogi government's term was more than what was paid by the two earlier governments.
Modi's efforts to turn Meerut into a sports hub is seen in the political circles as part of an attempt to counter farmers' unhappiness over farm laws ahead of the state assembly elections.
The PM also mentioned that on Saturday lakhs of farmers from UP had got the money transferred to their bank accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi and that it will benefit small farmers of this region.
The PM said over 1,000 boys and girls will pass out as excellent sportspersons from this upcoming sports university in Meerut.
"In other words, the city of revolutionaries will further strengthen its identity as the city of sportspersons,” he said, in an apparent reference to the 1857 revolt against the East India Company beginning in Meerut with its leader sepoy Mangal Pandey attaining an iconic status among the country’s freedom fighters.
Meerut has also been a top cricket bat manufacturing hub.