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My government's religion is 'India first': Modi
Friday February 27, 2015 7:33 PM, IANS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday said his government, which followed the religion of "India first", was working keeping in mind the thought of "development of all" with particular emphasis on the northeastern part of the country.

Replying to the discussion in the Lok Sabha on the motion of thanks to President Pranab Mukherjee's address, he also said his government "corrected" the land acquisition act for the sake of farmers, and if there is anything anti-farmer in the law they are ready to change it.

He also stressed the government had "compelled" the nation to talk about black money.

He said his government was working for all states without differentiating which party was in power there.

"We don't look at colour of the party's flag in a state but look at the tricolour," he said, adding that his government was not discriminating among the states on the basis of their governments.

He also claimed that it was the first time after Independence, that the budgets of the states have more money than that of the centre, adding this has been done to empower states.

"We strongly believe that states are to be empowered and taken forward," he said, adding he had a chance to roam around the country for over 40 years and knew it well.

Mentioning the northeastern region, he asked rhetorically why he would visit such places from where only one or two MPs come.

Answering himself, he said it had "nothing to do with politics". "I am not after political gains. I go there to see how those areas could be developed... they have tremendous potential to be developed... be prosperous areas," he said.

Modi also cautioned communal forces, asserting the country's diversity was its real strength and nobody would be allowed to disturb it. He said the constitution has everything that the country stands for and the nation was being run on its basis only.

"Nobody is allowed to take the law in his hands. My government's religion is 'India first' government's religion is 'constitution first', he said amid loud cheers from members of the BJP and its allies.

Touching upon the contentious issue of land acquisition, Modi said despite knowing well why the previous UPA government was trying to get the land acquisition bill passed, his party stood behind it and helped it become an act.

"We knew that they were doing it for political gains in their last months in the government but we still supported it and it became an act," he said, adding that when the BJP came to power, the states started pointing towards problems it had, "so we are trying to make required changes in it and that's it".

"My government is doing corrections and if you still feel there's something wrong, I am ready to make changes," he said.

"This is a small solution to correct the mistakes. We don't reject your attempt, we are just adding something," Modi said.

"If there is anything anti-farmer there, we are ready to change it. Take political mileage out of it I have no problem. I will still give the credit to those who made the law publicly," he said hinting at the Congress-led UPA which passed The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill in 2013.

The Congress, which led the government that passed the bill, must not be "arrogant", he said.

On black money, he said: "We have compelled the nation to talk about black money. This is a big thing. Our first decision in our first cabinet meeting was the decision on (forming) SIT on black money."

Modi, while emphasising his government's cleanliness drive, said his government is in the process of building toilets across the country and a large number have already been built.

"Cleanliness directly affects tourism. Tourism has increased after we have started this drive," he said.

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