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Vote for change as Himachal looking for honest era: Modi

Shimla: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the people of Himachal Pradesh to vote for change like in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi as the hill state was looking for an honest era.

“Waqt badal chuka hai. Ab UP, Uttarakhand ki hawa Himachal mein aa rahi hai aur Delhi ki taza-taza hawa bhi to aa rahi hai (Times have changed. Now the winds of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are entering Himachal Pradesh and the fresh winds from Delhi are also coming this way,” he said at a public rally here.

“Himachal is looking for an honest era,” he said, in an indirect appeal to vote out the present Congress government in the coming elections slated in November.

Without naming Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is facing probe in connection with a money laundering case, the Prime Minister said: “One Chief Minister is spending much of his time with advocates. How he will work for the people.

“And you people know his name.”

Before addressing the rally, Modi flagged off the first regional flight under the ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN)’ scheme between Shimla and Delhi from Jubbarhatti, the tabletop airport located 2,196 metre above sea-level and some 22 km from here.

Calling the hill state ‘dev bhoomi’ or abode of gods as well as ‘veer bhoomi’ or abode of warriors, he said the state has enormous tourism potential.

“The central government is giving impetus to infrastructure. Be it roads, railways or airways, we want this region to grow. Today airways has got a big boost in Himachal Pradesh.

“I urge everyone to undertake less cash and encourage more digital transactions. BHIM app can transform the way we transact,” he said.

“Tier-II and Tier-III cities are becoming growth engines. Today airways have got a big boost in Himachal Pradesh.”

Donning a maroon Himachal cap with dry flowers atop, Modi, who flanked by two-time former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, said the fruit growers of this state would be immensely benefited with the government asking the multinational beverage companies to mix fruit juice in the soft drinks.

“Our sole aim is farmer welfare. Our government has brought the most comprehensive Fasal Bima Yojana for farmers,” he said.

Modi also said the government would continue to undertake steps to curb corruption.

“We will continue taking steps to curb corruption. Those who have looted the poor will not be spared.”

In his 40-minute address in Hindi, Modi also recalled his association with Shimla, recalling his early years spent in here, especially at the Indian Coffee House on The Mall with his journalist friends.

“You might be surprised to know that in those days I had never paid from my pocket for a cup of coffee. My journalist friends used to pay for my coffee,” he said.

–IANS