Modi sets stage for UP bat­tle as govt turns two

POLL PITCH PM prom­ises un­in­ter­rupted power to vil­lages, raises docs’ re­tire­ment age

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Zia Haq and Man­ish Chan­dra Pandey letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

SA­HA­RAN­PUR: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi called him­self a “UP-wala” and said his gov­ern­ment had set the poor on the path to progress as he vir­tu­ally launched the BJP’s poll cam­paign for In­dia’s most pop­u­lous state on Thurs­day.

At a rally in west­ern Ut­tar Pradesh’s Sa­ha­ran­pur to cel­e­brate two years of the NDA ad­min­is­tra­tion, Modi an­nounced an in­crease in the re­tire­ment age of gov­ern­ment doc­tors to 65, say­ing the move will bridge a short­age of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

“I am a UP-wala... I am your prad­han se­wak,” he said. Elec­tions are sched­uled in UP early next year.

He also ap­pealed to doc­tors to

serve poor preg­nant women for free on the ninth day of ev­ery month, a sig­nif­i­cant move in a re­gion with poor health in­dices.

For the bet­ter part of the hour-long speech, Modi fo­cussed

on so­cial and pro-poor schemes to woo vot­ers in a state with dis­mal lit­er­acy, health and in­fras­truc­ture in­dices.

He promised power to all UP vil­lages and re­peated a pledge to dou­ble farm in­comes by 2022, key prom­ises in a state where over a third of the pop­u­la­tion lives un­der the poverty line.

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