Lucknow: Hitting back at the Opposition for terming the quota bill an election gimmick, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked if there are any six months in a year where elections are not taking place in the country. Taking on claims that the bill is likely to affect other sections of the society, PM Modi said the initiative is taken without harming the interests of any class, giving parity and equality to the poor.

“People asked why I brought the quota before elections. Tell me if we have 6 months in the country without any elections taking place? This initiative is taken without harming the interests of any class, giving parity and equality to the poor,” PM Modi said while addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra where he is campaigning for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019.

“Yesterday, the whole country saw how a historic bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. General category poor families received a reservation of 10%, this is a significant step,” PM Modi added.

Making a veiled attack on Congress President Rahul Gandhi, PM Modi asserted that he would keep working honestly as the country’s “chowkidar” despite opposition’s protest. “Those didn’t even see face to face with each other, are getting scared looking at the chowkidaar. They think whatever happens to us will happen, but chowkidaar should be removed first. Till chowkidaar is there nobody can loot,” Modi said.

Talking on GST, PM Modi said, “GST has gone down by 18 per cent on necessities.” Modi added that GST was implemented to make the taxation process easy for dealers and businessmen.

Speaking on Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech in the parliament taking on claims by the Congress, PM Modi said that, “Our defense minister exposed the lies of the opposition parties on the floor of the parliament. Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech in the parliament has them so rattled that they have now started insulting her. Defense Minister’s insult tantamount to nation’s shame.”

PM Modi further said, “Within 100 days only, around 7 lakh poor people have been treated or are being treated in hospitals under Ayushman Bharat Yojana, which is also called ‘Modi Care’ by the people.”

Earlier, the Prime Minister launched civic projects worth Rs 2,980 crore in Agra.