They give me lessons on democracy: PM takes dig at Cong

Modi launches PM-SEHAT for J&K, taunts those giving him lessons in democracy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme via a video-conference to extend health insurance benefits to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir days after the completion of DDC polls, which he hailed as  "moment of pride" for India and hit back at Rahul Gandhi for giving him "lessons in democracy".

Asserting that the three-tier panchayat system has fully taken shape in Jammu Kashmir and has strengthened the roots of democracy, PM Modi spoke about realisation of Mahatma Gandhi's dream of village self-rule. The prime minister, accompanied by a host of Union Ministers, said that under this scheme, treatment facilities for people would not be limited to government and private hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir only but would be extended to all empanelled hospitals in the country.

At the event attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister Jitendra Singh and Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha, Modi also had interaction with beneficiaries from the region and told them that under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT scheme, 21 lakh families of Jammu and Kashmir will get free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh, which is a substantial raise from the about six lakh families, which are getting the benefit right now.

Modi also used the occasion to take a dig at Mamata Banerjee's government in poll-bound West Bengal saying that they, however, cannot avail this benefit in a state like West Bengal as the Trinamool Congress government had not joined the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Modi, whose government had taken away the special status from Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 last year, recalled former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dictum of ‘insaniyat, jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat’, stressing it will always be there to guide us.

Holding that DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir showed the strength of democracy in our country, Modi cited the contrast saying despite the Supreme Court's order, panchayat and municipal elections are not being held in Puducherry even as the tenure of those elected there ended in 2011.

"There are people in Delhi, who always hurl abuses at me. They want to teach me lessons in democracy but see their duplicity and hollowness. I want to show them the mirror today. The party that rules Puducherry has not conducted local bodies elections despite the Supreme Court's order whereas Jammu and Kashmir has held Panchayat level elections within one year after becoming a UT," Modi said in a jibe at Rahul Gandhi, who had recently alleged that there is no democracy in India.

Home Minister Amit Shah claimed the PM  has a special attachment and love for the people of J&K. and said that after August 5 last year, there is a visible change (in J&K) in every field, whether related to unfinished projects, implementation of centrally sponsored schemes, infrastructure development and security situation. 

Earlier Modi reeled out steps like LPG, toilet, piped water supply, setting up of IIT and IIM  besides setting up of two AIIMS and two cancer institutes in Jammu and Kashmir as examples of how the Centre has undertaken an all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir.