Rajiv Gandhi used INS Viraat for vacations: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused then Prime Minster late Rajiv Gandhi of using aircraft carrier INS Viraat and its personnel for vacations with his foreigner in-laws.

He raked up the issue at a rally here to counter the attack by Congress leaders who say that defence forces have been politicised by the BJP, citing remarks by BJP leaders that “Modi ki sena” had carried out air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan.

Addressing the gathering in Ramleela Maidan, Modi said, “Who has been treating the forces as personal property? …have you ever heard that a family goes for holiday on a warship? This has happened in our country. The ‘naamdar’ family used INS Viraat as its personal property. They insulted it.”

INS Viraat was withdrawn from its place of deployment and sent to fetch the in-laws of Rajiv Gandhi before it was taken to an island where nobody was there to welcome them and all arrangements for them were made by the personnel of the aircraft carrier, Modi alleged.

The holiday continued not for one day, but for 10 days during which the warship remained stationed there, Modi added.

The Prime Minister then asked whether the presence of “foreigners on the warship did not amount to playing with the security of the country. Or was it allowed just because he was Rajiv Gandhi?”

Taking a pot shot at the Congress’ NYAY scheme, Modi said, “Congress has started to talk about Nyay (justice), but I want to ask them who shall do justice to the victims of 1984 anti-sikh riots?”A

In an apparent reference to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Modi said those who were behind the anti-sikh riots were made Chief Ministers by the Congress.

The Prime Minister also said that in the last five years, 10 Janpath (the residence of the Gandhi family), which earlier used to house middlemen, has become middleman free.

“Now instead of middlemen, their house is visited by lawyers and advocates as they are afraid of facing the law,” he said.

Modi further said that the country has witnessed four different political cultures — ‘naampanthi’, ‘vaampanthi’, ‘daam’ and ‘gaban panthi’ and ‘vikaspanthi’.

“Those who believe in dyansties come under ‘naampanthi’, those who believe in ‘vaampanthi’ support foreign culture, while the ‘daam’ and ‘gaban panthi’ are those who believe in ‘gundatantra’ and ‘vikaspanthi’ is for those who believe in development.”

“But now a fifth political culture has arrived in the national capital and that is ‘nakampanthi’ — those who don’t want to work and those who fail in everything,” he said, referring to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Targetting the AAP government in Delhi, the Prime Minister said, “They brought anarchy and cheated the people of the country.”

“They disrespected every institution and cheated the people of the country. They had entered politics to bring change but they themselves have changed. They blame others to hide their own failures. They supported the ‘tukde tukde gang’ and also stood with the Khalistanis.

“They are full of negativity and they have stalled all the pro-poor Central government schemes in Delhi like the Ayushman Bharat and the 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward section,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that the country which witnessed frequent bomb blasts earlier has seen a change after 2014 as no bomb blasts took place in the national capital where people are now feeling secure.

Highlighting the achievements of his government, Modi said, “Masood Azhar has been declared a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council. Earlier, inflation used to be the main issue during elections, but this time it is no longer a poll issue due to the works that our government did in the last five years,” he said.

He also said that new India did not beg in front of anyone. “The new India now gives befitting reply to the terrorists inside their homes,” he said, referring to the air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 and the surgical strikes conducted across the broder in 2016.

Modi also said that Goods and Services Tax (GST) has eased the process of doing business across the country.

Modi also said that the bond between Delhi and BJP was strong and the party will keep on working for Delhi’s welfare.

He said the BJP-led NDA government has not only improved the country’s ranking in ease of doing business, but it is also working towards ease of living.

He said that price rise used to be a major issue in every election, but the NDA government has been able to bring it under control and the Opposition parties could no longer speak about it now.

The Prime Minister said that the poor now have access to houses, toilets and electricity besides enjoying the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Talking about the middle class, Modi said, “The middle class has benefited from the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Keeping annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh outside the ambit of income tax too has helped them.”

He also said that the government had introduced the RERA act to empower the people, especially the middle class, which dreams of having their own house.

Talking about the pollution issue in the national capital, Modi said, “Pollution is a major challenge which threatens Delhi, and the solution lies in using better technology and modern transport.”

He also said that the earlier governments didn’t show much interest in the peripheral roads of the city, which led to a rise in pollution levels as thousands of trucks from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana used to enter the city.

“But after the construction of the eastern and western peripheral highways, trucks now directly go to their respective destinations without entering the city, thus helping in curbing air pollution,” he said.