UPA government left "empty coffers": Amit Shah

World Sunday 15/May/2016 16:47 PM
By: Times News Service
UPA government left "empty coffers": Amit Shah

Dahod (Gujarat): The previous United Progressive Alliance government left "empty coffers" after its 10-year rule which made it difficult for the present National Democratic Alliance dispensation to work for the poor, BJP president Amit Shah said here on Sunday.
Shah, who was speaking at the launch of the second phase of 'Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana' at Dahod, also compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign for giving up LPG subsidy by well-off people to that of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's call of voluntarily giving up one meal to deal with food shortage.
"The UPA government had left us with empty coffers because of which it was not possible for the present government to do anything for the poor," Shah said, addressing the gathering where Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were also present.
"As soon as the Prime Minister (Modi) took over, he took steps to remove corruption and curb black marketing by direct transfer of Rs13,000 crore (Rs 13 billion) into the bank accounts of poor people," he said.
"He also initiated 'give it up' scheme and appealed well-to-do people to give up gas subsidy for the sake of country's poor. The response to the appeal was unprecedented, perhaps never before did any prime minister get such a massive response," Shah said.
"If we look back, perhaps (former PM) Lal Bahadur Shastri had made a similar appeal to the countrymen to stop eating dal-rice which received immense response and people had stopped eating it," the senior BJP leader said.
"On PM Modi's appeal, one crore people have left the (gas) subsidy which is not a small thing," he said. Highlighting the benefits of 'Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana', Shah said, "No other scheme can provide women empowerment better than 'Ujjwala Yojana'. "Six crore women will get gas connections, which is the best example of women empowerment and poverty alleviation."
Modi had launched the programme from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh on May 1 which aims to cover 50 million beneficiaries for which Rs8 billion has been earmarked.
The second phase of the programme was launched on Sunday in the presence of Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, and Chief Ministers Anandiben Patel (Gujarat), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh).
The tribal beneficiaries from Jhabua in MP, Pratapnagar and Dungarpur in Rajasthan, and from Dahod and Panchmahals in Gujarat were given LPG connections. On the occasion, Pradhan said within three years, five crore families will get LPG connections for which Rs 8 billion finance will be provided.
"This financial year alone, one crore new connections will be provided for which Rs 2,000 crore have been earmarked. In Gujarat, in the coming days, we will provide 2.5 million new connections, most of which will be targeted at rural beneficiaries," Pradhan said.
The minister also said that the government was not passing on the entire benefit of reduction in global crude oil price to the public so that the remaining money was diverted to the programmes oriented towards the poor. Addressing the gathering, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said Modi always believed in working for the benefit of the poor. "The biggest difference between Congress and BJP is that BJP does not just talk but also work, while Congress only made promises that never got fulfilled," Raje said.
"Rajiv Gandhi used to say that even if the beneficiaries got 15 paise out of Re1 meant for him, it was a good thing. We believe that the entire money should reach the beneficiary," she said.
MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan compared the PM to Mahatma Gandhi, saying like the world keenly listened to the Father of the Nation, it now listens to Modi. "First, the world would keenly listen to everything Mahatma Gandhi said. Today, the world listens to Modiji," he said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said Modi fulfilled promises made before the Lok Sabha elections. "This is a historic day. I also come from a poor family and I have seen those times when your throat runs dry and eyes get filled with water while cooking food without LPG. Modiji has worked to give relief to such women," she said.