LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday slammed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for his 'chaukidaar-bhagidaar' insinuation, saying he took pride in sharing the pain of his countrymen.
Modi asserted that he rather took the jibe of turning 'bhagidaar' from 'chaukidaar' as a compliment.
"I think I should share this with the people of the state from where I have been elected from. Nowadays, they call me 'bhagidaar' (partner) and not 'chaukidaar' (watchman). I am happy and take pride in being the 'bhagidaar' of the pain and problems of the poor, the labourer, the deprived, the farmer, and the jawan braving the hostile weather at Kargil and Siachen," he said at an event, Transforming Urban Lanscape, on the third anniversary of his government's three key initiatives Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna-Urban.
Earlier, the PM inaugurated 99 development schemes worth Rs 3,897 crore on the occasion.
Modi also made light of the Opposition mocking him as a 'chaiwala' (tea vendor). "I have seen, lived in poverty and have borne its brunt. It was poverty which made me honest and gave me the strength and wisdom to solve problems. They call me 'chaiwala' and wonder that how can I be the PM. Let me remind them that it will be decided by the 125 crore people of this country and not by them."
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav was singled out for his non-cooperation for ignoring the central schemes meant for the poor. "The time from 2014-2017 before Yogiji took over was tough and trying. We used to correspond frequently with them (the SP leaders) for building houses for the poor. We released funds, but they were least interested and rather bothered more about decorating their own bungalows," Modi said.
Highlighting his government's urban development agenda, the PM said 5Es - Ease of living, Education, Employment, Economy and Entertainment - were the key factors in developing the smart cities further.