On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 72nd birthday on Tuesday, conversations from “reviving” the cheetah to diverting the Bharat Jodo Yatra played out. While the ruling party arranged blood donation camps and outreach programmes on the day, the Opposition criticised the “spectacle” and rallied behind the issue of unemployment.
The cheetah at Kuno
Seven decades after they became extinct in India, eight cheetahs from Namibia arrived at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh in a special cargo flight. Three of them were released into an enclosure by PM Modi on his birthday Saturday.
Modi stated that ‘Project Cheetah’ was his government’s endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation, saying that no “constructive efforts” were made by previous governments to revive the cheetah.
Congress general secretary communications in charge, Jairam Ramesh hit out at the statement and said the “claim that for decades nothing was done for cheetahs is a blatant lie!”
In a tweet on Saturday, he said, “PM rarely accepts continuity in governance. Not to mention my visit to Cape Town on 25.04.2010 for the Cheetah Project is the latest example of this. Today the PM created an unnecessary spectacle.”
PM hardly ever acknowledges continuity in governance. Cheetah project going back to my visit to Capetown on 25.04.2010 is the latest example. The tamasha orchestrated by PM today is unwarranted and is yet another diversion from pressing national issues and #BharatJodoYatra 1/2 pic.twitter.com/SiZQhQOu0N
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 17, 2022
Message of Women Empowerment
Addressing a convention of self-help group in Karahal in Sheopur district after visiting the Kuno National park, PM Modi said he was blessed by the mothers of Madhya Pradesh.
“Just now, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar spoke about my birthday. Normally, I don’t remember it. If not engaged with anything important, I prefer to seek my mother’s blessings on the occasion; today so many mothers of Madhya Pradesh have blessed me,” he said.
He went on to speak about women’s representation, saying that the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan “became successful as it was led by women”.
“Today, over eight crore women are associated with SHGs and the government aims to get at least one woman from each poor family on SHGs,” the PM said, adding: “To ensure the role of women in the rural economy and to explore new possibilities for them, the government is continuously working. Products made by them are being provided to a larger market through the ‘One-district-one-product’ scheme”.
‘Kabootar chodthe the, aaj cheetah chod rahe hai’
Addressing a gathering at Vigyan Bhavan while launching the National Logistics Policy in the evening, Modi said: “India is the fifth biggest economy in the world. Are you not happy about it?”. He added: “The country is changing. There was a time when pigeons were flown and released, now we are releasing cheetahs”.
Opposition brings up unemployment
Taking a dig at Modi releasing eight cheetahs from Namibia in the Kuno National park, former party president Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, “Eight cheetahs have come, now tell why 16 crore jobs didn’t come in eight years.” “Yuvaon ki hai lalkar, le kar rahenge rozgaar (It is the cry of the youth that they will have employment),” he said using the hashtag ‘Rashtriya Berozgar Diwas’.
The party also claimed that in view of the “worrying” job situation in the country, the youth are marking the prime minister’s birthday as “National Unemployment Day”, and demanded that he provide employment to them as promised.
Party leaders are all praise for Modi, governance
In a tweet in Hindi, Amit Shah said, “@narendramodi has worked to take the country forward in every field by connecting it to its original roots. New India has emerged as a world power under the vision and leadership of Modiji. Modi ji has made his mark as a global leader, who is respected by the whole world.”
Saying that Modi was the creator of a “safe, strong and self-reliant New India”, “a symbol of service and dedication,” Shah added, “For the first time after independence, by giving their rights to crores of poor, Modi ji has instilled a sense of hope and faith in them. Today every section of the country is standing with Modi ji like a rock.”
Almost all the CMs of BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, wished the PM. The party’s youth wing president, Tejasvi Surya, organised blood donation camps across the country. Union Health minister Manuskh Mandaviya said that “more than 87 thousand people had voluntarily donated blood under the Raktdaan Amrit Mahotsav.
Basti Sampark Abhiyan
Addressing a ‘Basti Sampark Abhiyan’ at Karol Bagh in Delhi, BJP party chief JP Nadda said, “PM Narendra Modi has said public is our strength. We have to connect with people including the poor and the downtrodden by working with them and working for them, and strengthening public participation,” he said,
Through the “Sampark Abhiyan”, BJP workers will visit 70,000 slums across the country before the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
“Lucky to have Modi as PM”
On the opening ceremony of Seva Pakhwada, the BJP’s fortnight-long events to mark the PM’s birthday, Chief Minister Pema Khandu Khandu said, “India is such a diverse country; running it is not an easy job. I believe the right person became the prime minister at the right time. The transformation that came about in India under his leadership says it all”.
During the period, party workers will arrange blood donation camps, free health check-ups, distribute equipment among differently abled persons and conduct vaccination drives.
“We, as Indians, are lucky to have Modi as our Prime Minister,” Khandu said, adding: “Modi has brought about productive and people-friendly reforms in governance. His dedication, political acumen and leadership guided the country in general and Arunachal in particular to achieve several milestones.
(With inputs from agencies)