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.
Speaking at a rally in Jagdalpur, Modi said the Congress-led Union government earlier had not done enough to develop the Naxal-infested Bastar region.
“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.
The Prime Minister further referred to Naxals as “monsters with evil mindset”.
“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.
Congress soon hit back at PM Modi. Speaking to India Today TV, Congress leader Sushmita Deb said, “The PM is again shooting from his mouth. It was our entire leadership in Chhattisgarh that was wiped out in a Naxal attack. His frivolous campaign wouldn’t work here.”
She added, “The PM underestimates the intelligence of voters in India. If he is attacking a single class of people who are urban, then it is wrong and arrogant.”
Speaking at a simultaneous rally in Chhattisgarh’s Pakhanjore town of Kanker district, Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi government of helping loan defaulters like liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamantaire Nirav Modi to flee the country.
“All of you were standing in long queues during demonetisation but not one black money holder was seen there. In fact, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away from the country with your money while you were standing in queues,” said Gandhi.
Gandhi is scheduled to address five rallies during his two-day tour of the poll-bound state while PM Modi will return to Delhi later on Friday evening.
The first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh will be held on Monday while campaigning will end on Saturday. The second phase of elections will be held on November 20.