Let’s fight poverty, see who wins: PM

Modi gives fight a new twist, dares Pak to wage war on de­vel­op­ment is­sues, says Uri won’t be for­got­ten

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Amita Shah cor­re­spon­dent@ dnain­dia. net

Kozhikode: In his first pub­lic speech af­ter the Uri at­tack, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Satur­day launched a scathing at­tack on Pak­istan and said the sac­ri­fice of the 18 sol­diers will not go in vain. Yet, he drew a dis­tinc­tion be­tween Pak­istan’s ‘ huk­maran’ ( rulers) and ‘ awam’ ( peo­ple) and chal­lenged the coun­try for a bat­tle on poverty, un­em­ploy­ment, il­lit­er­acy and in­fant mor­tal­ity.

Modi’s com­bat­ive tone re­sounded with the set­ting sun in the back­drop of the Ara­bian Sea as he sent a mes­sage “di­rectly to Pak­istan”, re­mind­ing its peo­ple of their prein­de­pen­dence links with In­dia.

Rais­ing the pitch, Modi said Pa- kistan is the only coun­try in Asia ex­port­ing ter­ror and want­ing blood­shed and killing. He took it to a crescendo say­ing In­dia was ready to face the chal­lenge to fight, but amidst the still­ness of an­tic­i­pa­tion among the thou­sands who had gath­ered on the Cali­cut beach, gave the idea of war a new twist -that of a fight over de­vel­op­ment.

Af­ter elat­ing the BJP cadre with his tough line against Pak­istan, Modi went on to take a states­man like ap­proach say­ing “let’s fight poverty and see who wins, let’s fight un­em­ploy­ment and see who wins, let’s fight il­lit­er­acy and see who wins, let’s fight child mor­tal­ity and see who wins.”

Modi said a time will come when the peo­ple of Pak­istan will rise against their own rulers on the is- sue of ter­ror­ism. “Pak­istan’s peo­ple should ask their rulers: If both coun­tries got free­dom at the same time, why is it that In­dia is ex­port­ing soft­ware and Pak­istan ter­ror.”

In an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to Pak­istan PM Nawaz Sharif’s ad­dress at the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, Modi said: “To­day’s rulers were read­ing a speech of pa­trons of ter­ror­ism and talk­ing of Kash­mir.” He said the Pak­istani rulers were mis­lead­ing peo­ple by talk­ing of fight­ing for thou­sand years and by read­ing out scripts writ­ten by ter­ror­ists. Over a month af­ter rais­ing the Balochis­tan is­sue, the PM again asked Is­lam­abad to look into its back­yard.

“You can’t con­trol PoK. You couldn’t con­trol Bangladesh. You couldn’t con­trol Gil­git and Balochis­tan,” he said.

— PTI

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ad­dress­ing BJP work­ers at the party’s Na­tional coun­cil meet­ing in Kozhikode on Satur­day evening.

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