LUCKNOW: While launching 81 industrial projects worth Rs 60,000 crore at a groundbreaking ceremony in Lucknow on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi patted the back of Yogi Adityanath government for its efforts to facilitate ease of doing business in UP, on the other, he credited the industry captains for the role they played in taking country's growth to next level.
However, the PM did not miss the opportunity to hit out at opposition for its frequent insinuations over his alleged proximity to industrial houses, and the likes of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, by saying that if intensions were honest and conscience was clear, it was not a crime to stand beside anyone and get photographed.
"I am not afraid of being seen with industrialists as they play a key role in nation's growth. Why should we embarrass them, shame them, call them thieves and robbers? " asked the PM assertively citing the example of Mahatma Gandhi who used to stay often at Birla House which used to extend support to Congress party during movement for freedom.
Without taking names, PM Modi referred to many political parties and their leaders who, he claimed, projected their aversion to industrialists in public but would enjoy all the favours and privileges behind the curtains. He cautioned those (Industrialists) who would dare to indulge in wrong doings.
"Those who would not be fare in their dealings will have to either leave the country or spend rest of their lives in jails," maintained the PM.
He added that earlier this never happened because those, at the helm, would be in collusion with such forces.
"Who doesn't know that there were industrialists who used to do 'dandwat pranaam' (respect) at the feet of political bigwigs. Doesn't everyone know whose aircraft these people (politicians) travel in?" he said in a scathing attack.
The PM then made the ambience lighter next moment by pointing at former SP leader Amar Singh, present in the gathering, saying: "Amar Singh ji is sitting there and he knows the best about such dealings and those behind them."
Notably, recently in Parliament, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had launched a broadside on PM over his alleged links with industrialists especially in reference to Rafale fighter jet deal.
Picking up the threads of opposition's onslaught at him, PM Modi said those who were looking for issues to defame him should not forget that he had to give account of only four years while they had to explain 70 years of their rule.
Meanwhile, giving full marks to Yogi government for bringing the projects worth staggering Rs 60,000 crore to ground so soon after signing MoU in Febraury investors' meet, the PM said it would be appropriate to call it a 'Record Breaking Ceremony' rather than Ground Breaking.
"The manner in which development works have been carried out in such a short span of time was never seen before in Uttar Pradesh. At this speed, UP will soon become a trillion dollar economy," the PM stated.
He also congratulated the state government for creating a business-friendly environment by putting a leash on crime and simplifying the procedure to facilitate ease of doing business.
The PM invoked former PM and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying that his government was only working towards realising the futuristic plans of Atalji who made Lucknow the nursery of urbanisation. We are only taking this vision forward," said the PM.
The 81 investment projects worth over Rs 60,000 crore were launched on Sunday in the presence of around 80 leading industrialists, including Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla group, Gautam Adani, chairman of Adani group, Subhash Chandra, chairman of Essel group and Sanjeev Puri, MD, ITC, etc.