Addressing his first election rally this poll season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Congress by accusing the Opposition party of supporting “urban Naxals” who ruin the lives of poor adivasis.
“The urban Maoists, who live in air-conditioned homes in the cities, look clean, roam around in fancy cars and whose children study abroad, remote-control the Adivasi (tribal) children in Maoist-dominated areas,” Modi alleged during a public address in Jagdalpur. “I want to ask the Congress, why it supports the urban Maoists when the government takes action against them and come to Bastar and speak against Naxalism?”
The Prime Minister further referred to Naxals as “monsters with the evil mindset”.
“Will you forgive such people? These people will not win Chhattisgarh,” he said. “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.”
Outlining BJP’s election campaign theme, which hinges on the development and strong stand against Maoists, Modi said the previous governments did not do much for the state to eliminate unemployment, poverty and starvation. That forced children to hold gun instead of pen due to “evil mentality” of monster Maoists. Maoists set fire to schools, which is a reflection of their evil mentality, he said. Congress had swept the first phase of polls on 18 seats in the Maoist-dominated districts of Bastar and Rajnandagaon in 2013, negating the Modi wave that had helped BJP win the national elections comfortably a few months later in 2014.
Of the 12 seats in the Bastar division, BJP could manage to win only four in the last elections, though it had won 11 out of 12 seats in the previous polls in 2008. Modi described Chhattisgarh’s longest-serving chief minister Raman Singh as his “friend” and vowed to walk shoulder to shoulder with him to realise former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream of making Chhattisgarh a prosperous state.
He alleged that the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre did not allow Raman Singh to work, and claimed that his NDA government has done much more for the state. For instance, 30,000 km road has been constructed to provide connectivity to 9,000 villages in the state in the last four years of NDA regime, he said. In comparison in the ten years of UPA rule at the Centre, only 20,000 km was added to the road network in the state, he claimed.
The NDA government has also built 3,000 km of National Highway so that the state could contribute to the nation’s prosperity, Modi told the gathering. “Do you want a government which works or one which creates hurdles in work?” he asked the crowd.
Indicating that he is himself serious about the region’s development, Modi said no other prime minister has visited Bastar as much as he did. “I have not come empty-handed but given you some scheme and development programme,” he said.
“We are working hard to eradicate unemployment, poverty and hunger from the region. Previously there were resources, but nothing happened.