Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 14 September, laid the foundation stone of a new university named after freedom fighter Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh in Aligarh.
A local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit, in 2014, had demanded renaming the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, who had donated the land for it, reported PTI.
PM Modi also visited the exhibition models of the Aligarh node of Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor and Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University.
"Today, I am missing Kalyan Singh ji. He would have been happy today. I am sure he is blessing us," PM Modi said during the event.
"Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh travelled to Afghanistan, Poland, South Africa, Japan for India's freedom and independence. I would like to tell the youth that whenever you find something difficult, always remember Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh. You will be motivated. The way he was focused on fighting for India's independence is inspiring," the prime minister said.
He said the country is correcting the mistakes made by it in the 20th century.
"It is unfortunate that the people of the country were not told about or aware of freedom fighters like Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh. This India of the 21st century is correcting the mistakes made by the country in the 20th century."Prime Minister Narendra Modi
"He donated land for Aligarh Muslim University. Today, when this 21st century India is walking on the path of education and knowledge, this university's announcement is a perfect tribute to him," Modi added.
Working Towards Making UP a Top Defence Equipment Exporter: PM Modi
Talking about the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor, he said, "Our image was that of importing defence equipment and depending on other countries. Now, we are working towards becoming a top defence equipment exporter."
"We will work on manufcturing drones, defence packaging, small weapons, among other things," he added.
"Till now, people used to depend on Aligarh manufactured locks for the safety of their homes. Now, in the 21st century, my Aligarh will protect our country," he said.
Narrating an anecdote from his childhood, he said, "A Muslim salesman used to come to our village every three months to sell locks. He used to sell the locks but collect money at a later date. He was good friends with my father. He used to live in the village for five to six days. He would give all the money to my father. And when he used would leave, he used to take the money from my father and go back."
PM Modi Targets Previous Governments
Taking a jibe at previous UP governments, PM Modi said, "The UP, which was seen as a hindrance in the development of the country, that UP, today, is helping the country move forward."
"Before 2017, there were several issues in availing the welfare schemes meant for pool people. People had to write multiple letters for availing those services. People can't forget all the corruption and scams that took place in UP. At one time, this state was run by mafias and goons. Now, they are all inside jails," he added.
Talking about the law and order situation in the state, he said, "Earlier, people used to be scared even inside their homes. Girls were scared to go to schools and colleges. Parents used to nervously wait for them to return home. So many people had to leave their home. Now, criminals have to think hundred times before taking any wrong step."
PM Modi: UP Focused on Helping the Poor
PM Modi said UP is focused on helping the poor.
"In Yogi Adityanath's UP, poor people are respected and heard. More than 8 crore people have been vaccinated in UP. The state holds the record for the most vaccinations in the day," he said.
"We have given free foodgrains to poor people in the state so that no one goes hungry. We have to fight and save UP from all those who are against development," he added.
PM Modi also exhorted the crowd to chant "Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh Amar Rahe" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai" before finishing his speech.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who on Monday, 13 September, had visited the venue to oversee the preparations for the event at Lodha town, thanked the prime minister for his presence at the event and also spoke about India's COVID-19 management.
"When the whole world is suffering from COVID-19, we have managed to vaccinate 75 crore people in the country through locally produced vaccines," Adityanath said while addressing the crowd.
The university is being set up in a total area of over 92 acres at village Lodha and village Musepur Kareem Jarouli of Aligarh's Kol tehsil.
In 2014, local BJP leaders had demanded that the AMU be renamed after the Raja as the "AMU had been built on the land donated by the late Raja", PTI reported.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi extended his greetings to the nation on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
"Wishing you all a very Happy Hindi Diwas. People from different regions have played a remarkable role in making Hindi a capable and vigorous language. It is the result of all your efforts that Hindi is continuously creating a strong identity for itself on the global stage," PM Modi's tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, said, reported ANI.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)