Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that in the last eight years, his government made an honest attempt to build India that Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel dreamt of, and added that it worked to protect the dignity of the poor during this period.
He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating a 200-bed multi-speciality hospital in Atkot town of Gujarat's Rajkot district. During his speech, he gave an account of the work his government carried out in the last eight years.
"I have spared no effort in the service to the nation in the last eight years. I have neither allowed, nor personally not done any work that will make you or even a single person of India hang their head in shame. In the last eight years, we have made an honest attempt to build the India of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel's dream," he said.
"Mahatma Gandhi wanted an India in which the poor, Dalits, Adivasi and women are empowered, where cleanliness and health are part of life, where the economy is based on swadeshi (local) solutions," Modi said, adding that his government has worked for all this.
In the last eight years, pucca houses were provided to over three crore families; 10 crore families were saved from the ignominy of open defecation (by way of constructing toilets), and nine crore women were saved from the adverse impact of smoke (by providing LPG connections); electricity connections were provided to 2.5 crore families and tap water connections were given to six crore families; over 50 crore people are covered to get free treatment (under PMJAy insurance scheme), Modi said.
"These are not just figures, but this is proof of our commitment to provide dignity to the poor of the country. In the last eight years, my government has worked for the uplift of the poor," he said.
"With the mantra of 'Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas aur sab ka prayas' (everyone's support, everyone's development and everyone's trust), we have given new direction to the development of the country," Modi said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government opened the food grain stocks for the poor, he said.
"As the pandemic started, people faced difficulties in getting the food supplies. So we opened up the food grain stock of the country for the poor people. We provided financial assistance to the Jan Dhan bank accounts of women during the pandemic. We opened our health services for all those who suffered," Modi said.
"And when the vaccine came, we ensured that every Indian gets vaccinated and that too free," Modi said.
He said he did not study poverty from books or through television as he himself went through the phase.
Modi, whose visit to his home state comes around six months before the Assembly polls, said the double engine government (at Centre and state) has ensured fast-paced growth of Gujarat, which he asserted was not the case before 2014.
"Due to the double engine government, Gujarat is achieving new heights of development. Before 2014, things were different. If we sent any development project files to the Centre (UPA government), they used to reject them. They could not see any development project...," he said.
State assembly elections are scheduled in Gujarat in December.
Modi hailed the Patidar community trust, which set up the 200-bed hospital in the rural area of Rajkot, and said he wished that hospital should remain empty. "Nobody should fall sick. We have to build such a lifestyle which helps us in not getting sick," he said.