Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that 'Garibi Hatao' (remove poverty) had sadly remained a mere slogan for the past many decades and that efforts for a turnaround in the lives of the poor had failed to bear fruit.
"Chunav ke dauran gareebi ki maala japte rehna ek aam baat hai (it is normal to speak of poverty during poll campaigning)," he said while addressing a gathering of rickshaw pullers in his Varanasi parliamentary constituency.
Narendra Modi at Varanasi. Pic/ANI
The BJP-led central government was committed to making basic changes in government schemes so that the poor were actually benefited, the prime minister said in his address after distributing e-rickshaws to the poor.
"We have initiated many things, including skill development, which will enable the poor to begin their lives afresh and in a much better, financially sustainable manner," the prime minister said.
He said he however did not wish to blame any previous government or political party for the pitiable condition of the poor in the country.
'Garibi Hatao' slogan was coined in the early 70s by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and the Congress.
Modi, a first-time Lok Sabha MP from the temple town, also urged the people to send their children to school as "education was a great weapon in fighting poverty."
He also pointed out how the Jan Dhan scheme launched by the NDA government had benefited the poor and almost 18 crore accounts had been opened.
Earlier, the prime minister was received by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, state cabinet minister Balram Yadav and district officials.