Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday lashed out against the Opposition INDIA block, asserting that the attacks on him will not stop the fight against corruption irrespective of the status of those involved.

Launching the ruling BJP’s election campaign at a public rally in Meerut, western Uttar Pradesh, Modi said the contest in this election is between the NDA, which is fighting against corruption, and INDIA which is out to save the corrupt. 

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, NDA ally RLD chief Jayant Choudhary, and party candidates were also present at the rally in Meerut, which will go to polls in the second phase of elections on April 26 along with other seats in the western UP that have strong Jat community influence.

“I am fighting against corruption, and because of this, some people are rattled and have lost their cool...Modi’s mantra is ‘Bhrashtachar hatao’ and they say ‘Bhrashtacahri bachao’”, he said while seeking response from the jeering crowd in the rally, whether corruption should end or not. 

Dig at Kejriwal

Incidentally, the INDIA alliance also organised a rally on Sunday, attended by most of its partners, on “save democracy” at Ramlila ground in the national capital.

The PM also took a dig at Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who is behind bars in the excise case, stating that “some people have not even got bail from the Supreme Court.”

Modi warned that his government will not spare even the powerful if they are corrupt and is working to return the looted money to the people to whom it belonged. “During Congress rule, thousands of crores of rupees of poor, small investors, and banks were syphoned off... We have confiscated the property of the corrupt people, and more than ₹17,000 crore have been returned to those whose money was looted,” he said.

Repeating the BJP coined slogan, “abki baar 400 paar,” Modi told the huge gathering of people that he needs that kind of absolute majority not just to act against the corrupt but also to make India ‘viksit’ (developed), get rid of ‘garibi’ (poverty), offer new opportunities for youth, and for farmers’ prosperity.

Forward Momentum

In his entire speech, underlined by confidence that his government is returning to power comfortably for the third consecutive term, Modi stayed away from emotive and ideological issues, except for a reference to the consecration of the Lord Ram idol at Ayodhya.

“This election is not about forming a government or who will become MP. It’s for the Vikshit Bharat. The 2024 mandate will make Bharat the third largest economy in the world,” he told people, flagging another slogan, ”Tisri bar, Modi sarkar”. He said his government has already started working for the third term and has set a new governance roadmap for 100 days.

He also gave a report card of his government’s performance during the last decade, including improved infrastructure, disbursing ₹1-lakh crore to pensioners after implementing one rank, one pension for the armed forces, ending triple talaq, abrogating Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, and poor and women empowerment schemes.