Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday accused the Congress of backing “urban Maoists” and described the left-wing extremists as “monsters with evil mindset”.
He added that voting for anyone apart from the BJP would be a “blot on the dreams of Bastar”.
Addressing his first election rally in the insurgency-hit Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, Modi said the Congress was making “fun” of Adivasis.
“I don’t know why Congress makes fun of Adivasis. Once I had gone for a rally in Northeast India and wore a traditional Adivasi headgear but Congress leaders made fun of it. This was an insult to Adivasi culture,” he said.
He said the BJP government in the state, led by Chief Minister Raman Singh, had ushered in a new era of development in Bastar while earlier governments did nothing for the region despite having funds.
Going all out to denounce the Maoists, Modi said they were destroying schools and not allowing doctors to treat people.
“Those who are giving guns in the hands of kids in place of the pen are actually monsters with evil mindset. They are destroying schools and not letting doctors perform their duty,” the prime minister said.
He said, “urban Naxals” were remote-controlling the left-wing insurgency in the region.
‘Urban Naxals’ is a term coined for city-based supporters working as front organisations of the proscribed Maoist outfits.
“The urban Maoists, who live in air-conditioned homes in the cities and whose children study abroad, remote control Adivasi children in Naxal-dominated areas,” Modi said.
“I want to ask the Congress why it supports urban Maoists when the government takes action against them,” he said.
He asked people to vote for the BJP and ensure that it wins all seats in Bastar, adding that “if anyone else wins, it will be a blot on Bastar’s dreams”.
Hitting out at previous governments for ignoring the area, he said that the “such people” will not win in Chhattisgarh.
He said that Naxalism needed to be stamped out to pave the way for development, adding that the BJP wanted to strengthen Bastar and root out unemployment, poverty and hunger.
“This is the reason I have come here. This is our responsibility because you have reposed that faith in us,” he told the gathering.
The prime minister said that he wanted to fulfil late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream of a prosperous Chhattisgarh and “will not rest” till he achieved it.
Speaking about his multiple visits to the region, Modi said, “I have never come empty-handed but have given you some scheme or development programme. We are working hard to eradicate unemployment, poverty and hunger from the region. Previously, there were resources but nothing happened.”
Lashing out at the Congress, Modi said it treated Dalits, deprived sections and Adivasis as vote banks and not as human beings.
“Do you want a government which works or one which stops development works,” he said, adding that his government never discriminated among people.
“Previous governments did that. Our government works for the development of all,” he said.
He also paid tribute to Doordarshan cameraman Achyutanand Sahu who, along with two security personnel, were killed in a Naxal attack in the state’s Dantewada district on October 30.
“An innocent cameraman of Doordarshan, Achyutanand Sahu, who was doing his duty, was killed by Maoists. He was sharing the dreams of the people of Bastar with other people across the country. What was his fault?” Modi asked.
Earlier, Chief Minister Raman Singh addressed the gathering and claimed that his government was ensuring that no tribal or poor person in Bastar was going hungry.
“We are distributing rice to the poor at Re 1 per kilo. We are giving a minimum support price of Rs 2,500 per quintal for tendu patta, up from Rs 400 per quintal earlier. About 3,000 kilometres of roads and bridges are being constructed in Bastar,” Singh said.
The state goes to polls in two phases on November 12 and 20.
The first phase of voting will cover Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Bastar, Jagdalpur, Keshkal, Chitrakot, Dantewada, Bijapur, Konta, Khairagarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon, Khujji and Mohla-Manpur seats.
Stakes are very high for the BJP on these 18 seats as it had lost 12 of them in the last polls in 2013.
In the 2013 Assembly polls, of the total 90 seats, the BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39, BSP 1 and Independent 1. PTI