Indian PM Narendra Modi (left) is presented a memento by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during the dedication of the Solapur-Osmanabad section of National Highway-52 in Solapur yesterday. Image Credit: PTI

Solapur (Maharashtra): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday defended the introduction of the 10 per cent quota for the general category poor in jobs and education, adding the bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha is a strong answer to those “spreading lies”.

Targeting the opposition Congress, Modi asked the party to clarify what was driving its ongoing allegations on the Rafale fighter jet procurement issue.

Addressing a public rally here, Modi said the smooth passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha is a “strong answer” by the Parliament to those spreading lies.

Hoping the Rajya Sabha would pass the Bill on Wednesday, Modi said the rights of deprived sections, including Dalits and tribals won’t be affected because of this bill.

He termed the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha as a historic step aimed at welfare of the deprived sections.

On the passage of the Citizenship Bill, seeking to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Modi assured people of Assam and North East that their rights will not be curtailed in any way through the bill’s provisions.

Modi indicated that alleged middleman Christian Michel, arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case, was lobbying for French manufacturer Rafale’s rivals in the multi role aircraft deal.

“During the earlier [UPA] regime, the middlemen culture had become a part of the system. They had snatched the rights of the poor and also played with the security of the nation,” Modi said.

Citing media reports, Modi said Michel was lobbying for “some other contender” as well.

“He [Michel] has made a shocking revelation. As per media reports, he was not just involved in the helicopter deal but also involved in the deal of the fighter planes (Rafale), when the earlier government was in power,” Modi said.

“Media says that Michel was also lobbying for some other company. Congress should answer which leader of their party, now shouting about this [Rafale deal], has a connection with Michel. They should give an account of each and every penny spent,” he said.

Calling himself a chowkidar (watchman), Modi said he has undertaken a “safai” (clean-up) mission to uproot corruption and that he cannot be bought or scared and will continue with his work relentlessly.

“Modi is made up of a different soil. He cannot be bought nor can anyone scare him. I will take an account of every single penny. This chowkidar doesn’t sleep and can pick a wrongdoer even in darkness. They may continue abusing me but I will not stop my mission to uproot corruption,” Modi said.

Criticising the functioning of the previous Congress-led government, Modi said it indulged into vote bank politics and ignored the development of the country’s backward areas.

“After coming to power, we undertook developmental works and projects in areas which were ignored only because they (Congress) indulged in vote bank politics. We managed to uproot this attitude of vote bank politics and have undertaken a slew of projects in areas where they were needed,” he said.

Modi said had the previous government undertaken these projects, the situation would have been far different today.

Citing some initiatives taken by his government in the last four years, Modi said that till 2014, India had a highways network of over 91,000km, which has now reached over 1.30 lakh km.

Modi launched the four-laning of Solapur-Osmanabad section of NH-211, underground sewerage system and three sewage treatment plants and also laid foundation stone of 30,000 houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

“We do not just stop at laying foundation stones or announcing projects; we also launch them. There are projects worth lakhs of crores undertaken by the BJP government and most of them are in advance stages of development,” Modi said.