Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared combative when he took on rival Congress by linking the party with 'Urban Naxals' as part of the BJP's campaign for the upcoming Chhattisgarh Assembly election at a rally in Jagdalpur on Friday. The state votes on 12 November in the first phase of polls for 18 Assembly seats. In 2013, the BJP had lost 12 out the 18 seats, which makes the first phase a critical one for the saffron party.
The prime minister tore through the Opposition and touched upon a host of topics, including Naxal violence, development in the Bastar region and its connectivity with the rest of the country.
Addressing his first election rally in the state, Modi said he will not rest till he fulfills late Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dreams for a prosperous Chhattisgarh. Modi said the Congress-led government did not do enough to develop the Naxal-affected Bastar region citing the Maoist menace.
"The urban Maoists, who live in air-conditioned homes in the cities, look clean and whose children study abroad, remote control the adivasi children in the Naxal-dominated areas," Modi said.
Focussing on the Bastar region, the prime minister alleged that the Opposition was disrupting the government’s crackdown on Naxals.
"Will you forgive such people? These people will not win Chhattisgarh. I appeal to you to ensure that BJP wins all seats in the Bastar region. If anyone else wins, it will be a blot on Bastar's dreams," he added.
Recently, two attacks made headlines when security forces were ambushed in Dantewada’s Aranpur village and another in Balrampur. The first attack claimed the live of a cameraperson employed with Doordarshan.
In another attack on Thursday, Naxals killed five, including two Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, near Bacheli in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.
“I urge the people of Bastar to teach a fitting lesson to the Congress leaders, who on one hand try to shield the urban Maoists, and in Chhattisgarh, they speak about freeing the state from Maoists”
Rail and Road Connectivity
“I kept my promise of rail and road connectivity,” Modi said, referring to the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and other regional connectivity schemes. “In the past four years, more than 9,000 villages have been connected by roads. Not just that but by spending approximately Rs 35,000 crores, the work for a 3,000 kilometre National Highway Project was started by the BJP government,” the prime minister said.
“These highways are not only meant for plying cars but they become important to improve the financial conditions of the state. We have spent approximately Rs 12,000 crore for the approval of seven new railway lines. Approvals to widen the 1500 kilometre rail-line were also granted,” he added.
Talking about the region’s development due to the co-operation between the state and the central government, he asked, “Did anyone ever think that people would be able to fly to Delhi and back from Jagdalpur? Did anyone think that Bastar would have its own medical college and university?”
Recounting Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s contribution, Modi said that it was because of Vajpayee that a separate ministry for tribals and separate budgets for them were introduced. He alleged that the Congress makes fun of tribals' attire and culture, and thinks only of the Gandhis, whereas the BJP thinks of the people.
"I don't know why Congress makes fun of adivasis. Once, I had gone for a rally in North East India India and wore a traditional adivasi headgear but Congress leaders made fun of it. This was an insult of adivasi culture," he said. Modi made an apparent reference to comments by Shashi Tharoor, who had said that the prime minister wears 'outlandish' Naga headgear, but refuses to sport a Muslim skull cap.
"Dalits, backward classes and the poor are a treasure for the Congress party," Modi said. For ten years, Congress was at the Centre, but they never paid attention to the needs of Chhattisgarh and blocked all development for the state. They never thought of the region's progress.
"Congress does not have any future. The party that lives by lies does not have a place on Earth. Our only mantra is development, their work is only lying," Modi said.
18 years of Chhattisgarh
The state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2000. Speaking about the state completing 18 years Modi recounted, “When Chhattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh, Atalji observed that even when Congress ruled Madhya Pradesh for years, people had to go hungry in this region... for this purpose, Atal Bihari Vajpayee created a separate state of Chhattisgarh”
“Chhattisgarh has turned 18. Now the requirements of the state are different. The parents of an 18-year-old also have to alter their budget when he/she turns 18. So, even the government sitting in Delhi is working to fulfill the dreams of this 18-year-old Chhattisgarh,” he added.
Talking about the state politics he said,”Caste dominated Chhattisgarh politics, but that will not be the case anymore.”
Talking about the “wave of development in Chhattisgarh” Modi said: “How did this development in Chhattisgarh happen? There were governments in power earlier, but there was no development. The reason for that is because we did away with the middlemen.”
He mentioned how resources were there previously too, but there was “no political will” and alleged that the earlier governments were corrupt and inept. “I am committed to sabka sath, sabka vikas. We do not differentiate between castes, gender, poor or rich, we only believe in 'sabka saath, sabka vikas.' We want everyone to be with us and we want development for everyone”, Modi said.
“Every corner of this region is a way for development today. This is because both the state and the central government worked together. Did anyone think that Bastar would have its own medical college and university?”
Chief minister Raman Singh had welcomed the prime minister in Jagdalpur and was also present at the rally. During his speech, he said, “Nobody in Bastar sleeps hungry at night. Electricity will be brought to every nook and corner of Bastar.”
"Modi's vision and thinking have brought this change in Bastar. I am assuring you that this is just the start. In the coming days, development in Bastar will happen at a greater pace,” he added. Modi concluded his speech by urging the people of the state to help the BJP in making way for a “new state and a new Bastar."
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Nov 09, 2018 16:07 PM