NDA Will Break Previous Records, Says Modi On Eve Of Poll Dates Announcement

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Pathanamthitta (Kerala), Mar 15: On the eve of the Parliament election schedule announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Friday that the BJP-led NDA would secure power at the Centre by surpassing previous records in the upcoming Lok Sabha election He urged Kerala voters to convert their “substantial support” into votes so that the BJP wins seats in the double digits in the state.
“We are going to witness a grand festival of democracy soon. I have a firm belief that this time Kerala’s love for the BJP will translate into a huge support. I have a firm belief that this time all previous records will be broken. I have a firm belief that this time our Kerala will break the vicious cycle of LDF and UDF.
“I have a firm belief that this time Kerala will immensely support the BJP. Modi promises you that he will leave no stone unturned to develop Kerala,” Modi said, referring to himself in the third person, while addressing a huge meeting of the BJP-led NDA in this south Kerala town.
His statement came shortly after the Election Commission said it would announce the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls on Saturday.

Reaching out to the Christian community in Kerala, crucial for the NDA’s victory in Lok Sabha constituencies classified by the BJP as ‘A’ category segments, including Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, and Thiruvananthapuram, the Prime Minister recounted his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican and highlighted his government’s successful efforts to rescue a priest from Kottayam who had been captured by ISIS militants in Yemen.
“In 2021 when I met His Holiness Pope Francis in the Vatican, even then I specifically mentioned Kerala there. He was also impressed by the progress being made in India. In the past 10 years, we have worked as hard as possible for every community and region of the country.

“We brought back, through Iraq, our sister nurses who were stranded in the middle of a war. We freed our Christian priests who were in trouble and brought them back safely,” Modi said.
He was referring to the rescue of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from Kerala who was abducted in war-torn Yemen in 2016 and rescued from ISIS captivity after 18 months during a deadly attack on a care home in the port city of Aden.
In 2014, soon after the first Modi government came to power, the government had safely evacuated 46 Indian nurses, including a large number of Keralites, from the then strife-torn Iraq.

Amid criticism from the Congress and the Left in Kerala over recent violence against Christians in Manipur, Modi, in his speech, subtly alluded to the case of a Catholic priest being struck by a vehicle in Poonjar, Kottayam district last month, lamenting, “It’s regrettable that even church priests in Kerala are not immune to violence.” In his address, Modi also projected the BJP’s prominent Christian face in Kerala Anil K Antony — son of Congress stalwart and former Union Minister A K Antony — who is contesting the parliamentary seat of Pathanamthitta, as a symbol of youthfulness.

“This is the kind of freshness that is required in Kerala politics,” Modi said, referring to Anil Antony who had left the Congress and joined the BJP last year.
The PM said that since Kerala had given the BJP a double-digit vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he expects to reach a target of seats in the double digits from the state as well.
“In the last elections, the people of Kerala made us the double-digit vote percentage party. And now, our destiny of double-digit seats here is not so far,” he said. “Lotus is going to bloom in Kerala this time.” Modi claimed that the people of the state have endured hardships under the LDF and UDF governments that are allegedly plagued by corruption and incompetence.

He also took a dig at both fronts, raking up the issue of gold smuggling through diplomatic channels under LDF rule and the solar panel scam under the previous UDF rule.
Modi claimed that the people would benefit only if the cycle of consecutive LDF, UDF governments is broken as they are allegedly only focused on vote-bank politics.
The PM also contended that the thinking and ideology of both the LDF and the UDF are outdated and in sharp contrast to the progressiveness and forward-thinking of the people of Kerala.

He also said that both the LDF and UDF governments have turned a blind eye to the struggles of rubber planters.
He said that amid all the efforts by the central government for the development of Kerala, it is also important that the correct views and opinions of the people of the state reach the Centre.
“If we have BJP MPs here, it would be easier for people to communicate their views to the Centre and for the implementation of central projects here. The schemes and projects that the people of Kerala need can be communicated even better to the Centre through the BJP MPs,” Modi said.

“It is ‘Modiyude Guarantee’,” he added.
The Prime Minister began his speech by chanting “Swamiye Saranamayyappa” as the famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala is located in Pathanamthitta district.
The Prime Minister also extended advanced Easter wishes to all. “It reminds us of the principles of Jesus Christ. I wish you all a happy Easter,” he said.
“Nowruz, a prominent festival of our Parsi brothers, is also coming up. Ram Navami and Holi are also around the corner. The holy month of Ramzan is going on and the biggest festival of democracy is about to start,” he said.

In addition to the NDA’s Lok Sabha candidates V Muraleedharan (Attingal), Anil K Antony (Pathanamthitta), Sobha Surendran (Alappuzha), and Baiju Kalasala (Mavelikkara), among other leaders, Padmaja Venugopal, who recently joined the BJP after quitting the Congress, was also present on the stage. (Agencies)

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