Modi Says Cong Backs Urban Maoists As Chhattisgarh Campaigns Clash
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
The electoral turf of Chhattisgarh heated up as both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed public rallies in the poll-bound state on Friday, 9 November, ahead of the state elections on 12 November.
Modi kickstarted the campaigning in Chhattisgarh with a rally in Jagdalpur, Bastar district on Friday, 9 November, at 1 pm. Speaking at the rally, he took potshots at the previous UPA regime, accusing them of not cooperating with the Raman Singh-led state government.
Rahul Gandhi, too, began his two-day visit to the state by addressing a poll rally in Kanker district on Friday, 9 November, at noon. He accused the Modi government of waiving loans worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore of a few businessmen. He also released the party’s manifesto in Rajnandgaon on Friday.
Congress Supports Urban Maoists: Modi
Pointing out that it wasn’t until Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the prime minister in 1999 that the Tribal Welfare Ministry came into being, Modi said that Congress considers tribals a vote bank. He also said the BJP will work towards realising the dream with which Vajpayee had carved Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh.
Modi accused the Congress of backing urban Maoists, who he said have ruined the lives of the Adivasi youth.
Addressing his first election rally for the state Assembly polls, Modi also said Congress makes "fun" of adivasis (tribals).
“I don’t know why Congress makes fun of adivasis. Once I had gone for a rally in North-East India and wore a traditional Adivasi headgear but Congress leaders made fun of it. This was an insult of Adivasi culture,” he said.
Modi said he will not rest till he fulfils late Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dreams for a prosperous Chhattisgarh, adding that the Congress-led government did not do enough to develop the Naxal-infested Bastar region citing the Maoist menace as an excuse.
"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.
"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," he said.
Describing Naxals as "monsters with evil mindset", the prime minister said earlier governments did not do enough for the development of Bastar region.
“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.
Modi said no other prime minister visited Bastar as often as he did. "I have not come empty handed but given you some scheme and development programme. We are working hard to eradicate unemployment, poverty and hunger from the region. Previously there were resources but nothing happened," he said.
Modi said he wanted to serve the people of Chhattisgarh and fulfil Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dreams of a prosperous state.
"I will not rest till I fulfil his dreams. Chhattisgarh is now 18 years old. There are different dreams and aspirations of 18-year-olds now," he said.
“Congress speaks of Dalits, deprived sections and tribals but the party considers them as vote banks and not as human beings,” he said.
"Do you want a government which works or one which stops development work?" he asked at the rally.
Modi said his government has never discriminated among people. "Previous governments did that. Our government works for development of all," he said.
Ahead of the rally, on Thursday, four civilians and a CISF jawan were killed in a suspected Naxal attack in Jagdalpur.
Modi, Raman Singh Destroyed Schemes for Adivasis: Rahul Gandhi
Drawing a comparison with MNREGA, Rahul Gandhi said that about Rs 35,000 crore is allocated annually towards the scheme, meaning that the Modi government has waived businessmen’s loans worth 10 years of MGNREGA allocation.
“For the last 15 years, Raman Singh government is in Chhattisgarh and Modi government has been at the Centre for the last 4.5 years – both had promised jobs to youth and security to farmers, but failed to deliver,” he said.
“This is the first time we have seen a PM who claims to give Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s account, promises 2 crore jobs and after winning elections, he makes them pick up the broom to start cleaning up,” he added.
Attacking the Raman Singh government in the state for allegedly neglecting Adivasis, Gandhi said that the state government destroyed policies designed for them.
“CM Raman Singh and PM Modi promised jobs, but today nearly 60,000 teacher posts, 13,000 lecturer posts are vacant & 3000 Aadivasi schools were shut down. We will ensure that the government vacancies are filled up,” he said.
“Tribal Rights Act’s intention was to protect Aadivasi lands and Land Acquisition Act was implemented to protect farmers’ lands. But BJP govt have destroyed these policies,” he added.
He also touched upon the alleged Rafale scam.
Gandhi is slated to address three more public meetings in Khairagarh, Dongargarh and Gunj Chowk, later in the day.
Chhattisgarh goes to polls in two phases on 12 November and 20 November. The counting of votes will take place on 11 December.