Flagging sports varsity, PM Modi says goons had free run in past UP governments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday used the foundation stone laying ceremony for a sports university in Meerut to attack the Opposition, saying that while previous governments had ignored sportspersons and instead allowed criminals to play games, the Yogi Adityanath government played “jail-jail” with criminals.

“Pehle ki sarkaron mein UP mein apradhi apna khel khelte the. Mafia apna khel khelte the. Pehle yahan avaidh kabze ke tournament hote the. Betiyon par fabtiyan kasne khule aam ghoomte the. Humare Meerut aur aas paas ke kshetron ke log kabhi bhool nahi sakte ki ghar jala diye jaate the. Aur pehle ki sarkar apne khel mein lagi rehti thi. Pehle ki sarkaron ke khel ka nateeja log apna pushtaini ghar chodkar palayan ke liye majboor ho gaye the. Ab Yogi ji ki sarkar aise apradhiyon ke saath jail-jail khel rahi hai (During previous governments, criminals and mafia would play their own games. There used be tournaments of avaidh kabza (illegal occupation). People harassing our daughters would roam free. People in Meerut and neighbouring areas can never forget that their houses would be burnt. But previous governments were busy playing their own games. It was because of these games that people migrated, leaving behind their ancestral homes. Now, Yogi ji’s government is playing the game of jail-jail with those criminal elements),” he said, addressing a gathering at Meerut’s Salawa village after laying the foundation stone for the Major Dhyanchand Sports University.

While he did not name the Samajwadi Party or its leaders, the main Opposition party was evidently the target for much of the 42-minute address by the PM.

While talking of “criminals”, the PM added, “Ab yeh kehne se kaam nahi chalega ki ladke hain, galti ho jati hain (Now, you cannot get away by saying that boys will make mistakes),” said the PM, referring to SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remarks in 2014 while opposing capital punishment for rape.

The well-attended rally was also an occasion for the ruling BJP to launch its election campaign in western UP, a region where the party decimated the Opposition in the 2017 elections, winning 112 out of 132 seats, but had to face farmer protests over the three farm laws.

The PM said, “The double-engine government (at the Centre and in UP) has taken special care so that our youngsters who are active in sports get all that they need to bring honours for the country, like the Indian squad that bagged a number of medals in the Tokyo Olympics and also the Paralympics.”

The proposed sports university in Meerut — the first such in UP — will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore and will be spread across 91.38 acres, sources said. The university, which is expected to be completed by 2024, will take in 1,080 students every year.

In his first visit to Meerut in his second term as PM, Modi drove straight to Baba Augharnath temple. The PM also paid a visit to the Martyr’s memorial.

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