Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hit out at Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for his ‘UP, Bihar and Delhi de bhaiye’ remark, saying people with such ”divisive thought” do not have the right to rule the state.
Addressing a rally here ahead of the February 20 Punjab assembly polls, he also urged voters to bring the BJP-led alliance to power in Punjab for the all-round development of the state.
Channi during a Congress roadshow on Tuesday courted controversy by asking people not to let ”bhaiyas” of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi enter Punjab, a remark apparently aimed at leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is emerging as a strong contender for the polls to 117-member state assembly.
In a video circulating on social media, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is seen beside Channi and clapping when he made the remarks during the roadshow in Rupnagar.
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The word ”bhaiyas” in reference to people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is generally considered offensive.
During his address, Prime Minister Modi attacked the Congress, saying it ”always makes people of one region fight against another region for its own gains”.
Referring to Channi’s remark, he said the entire country saw this. ”The statement, which the Punjab chief minister has made, and his leader, who was standing beside him, was clapping. The entire country has seen this,” Modi said.
”By such statements, who are they trying to insult. There would hardly be any village here (in Punjab) where our brethren from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar would not be doing hard work,” he said.
Noting that Guru Ravidas Jayanti was observed on Wednesday, he said, ”I want to ask these leaders where was Sant Ravidas born. Was he born in Punjab? He was born in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi and you will not let ‘bhaiya’ of Uttar Pradesh to enter here, will you throw out Ravidasiyas (followers of Guru Ravidas), will you erase Sant Ravidas’ name too. What kind of language are you speaking?” Modi further asked where Guru Gobind Singh was born.
”He was born in Patna Sahib in Bihar, and you say you will not let people of Bihar enter. Will you then insult Guru Gobind Singh ji?… Will you insult the land where Guru Gobind Singh was born, will you use such language that you will not let people of that state enter here,” he said.
They are saying they will not let people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar enter, Modi said, adding, people with ”such divisive thought do not have the right to rule Punjab even for a moment”.
Referring to the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, he said it was his government which implemented them.
”History is witness that the Congress has always betrayed farmers,” Modi said.
”There was a demand for implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report for several years but they continued to sit on the file. Congress governments only spoke lies,” he said.
He said when his government was formed at the Centre, it implemented the recommendations of the commission, and that it was in his government’s time, there was a record purchase of foodgrains.
Attacking the Congress government in Punjab, Modi said every trade has been captured by the mafia in Punjab.
He also said that because of the Congress government’s policies, nobody was ready to make investments in Punjab.
In entire Punjab, one voice is coming out and that is to make the BJP-led alliance victorious and form a ”double engine” government, the prime minister said.
”Double engine government means speedy progress. It means weeding out sand mafia and drug mafia from the state. The double engine government means flourishing of trade, giving jobs and creating new avenues of self-employment,” Modi said.
”Give one chance to us, give me five years and then see how the double engine government takes Punjab on a speedy path of development,” he said. The BJP is contesting the elections in alliance with the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).