PM Modi addressing a rally in Jagdalpur. (Twitter/@BJP4CGState)
With just a couple of days left for the first phase of the legislative assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, the BJP and the Congress have kicked off an intense campaign run with bigwigs from both parties making a beeline for the state.
Addressing a rally in Jagdalpur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of backing “urban Maoists” who he claimed to have ruined the lives of the local tribal population.
“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,” PM 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. FOLLOW HIGHLIGHTS HERE
His remarks come days after the state witnessed a spurt in Maoist attacks in the poll-bound state. On October 27, four CRPF men were killed when a mobile bunker was attacked in Bijapur district. Three days later, a DD cameraperson and two policemen died in a Maoist ambush in Dantewada. On Wednesday, Maoists in Usur set ablaze a bus after getting the passengers to disembark.
“A brave and innocent cameraman from DD, Achutyanand Sahu was killed by Maoists. Recently our valiant jawans were also martyred in an encounter with Maoists, and for Congress party these Maoists are revolutionaries? What sort of vocabulary is this?” Modi said while castigating the Congress. He went on to say, “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.”
Describing Naxals as “monsters with the evil mindset”, PM Modi said, “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.”
Rahul Gandhi takes a swipe at Modi over job promise, demonetisation
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi at the rally in Pakhanjore on Friday. (Photo: INC)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who addressed several rallies, raked up the issue of unemployment in the state. Gandhi said, “For the last 15 years, Raman Singh government in Chhattisgarh and Modi government for last 4.5 years in Centre both had promised jobs to youth and security to farmers, but failed to deliver.”
Gandhi, however, promised farm loan waivers within 10 days if Congress comes to power in the state.
Taking the government head on over the Rafale deal controversy and demonetisation, while addressing the crowd in Pakhanjore town of Kanker district, Gandhi said: “All of you were standing in long queues during demonetisation but not one black money holder was seen. Also, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away from the country with your money.” The Congress leader also attacked the government over the rising fuel prices.
Stepping up his attack on the state and union government, Gandhi alleged that both Raman Singh and PM Modi never do anything without seeking permission of their industrialist friends. “Bastar is rich in natural resources, but local people don’t have access to their benefits. The benefits are reaching a few industrialist friends of Modi ji and Chhattisgarh CM,” Singh told people during a rally in Kanker district.
“In Delhi, Modi ji has 10-15 industrialists friends and similarly Chhattisgarh CM has 10-15 big businessmen friends. Modi ji and Singh never do any work until they take permission from these 10-15 friends,” he alleged.
The crowd at the Congress rally in Pakhanjore on Friday. (Photo: INC)
The Congress chief also made a slew of promises to woo voters which include setting up of food processing units in every district, MSP of Rs 2,500 for paddy farmers, and the chief minister working for creating new jobs for the youth.
The election on 90 seat assembly in Chhatisgarh will be held in two phases on November 12 and 20, while the results will be declared on December 11. The BJP has been in power in the state for last three terms with Raman Singh heading the government. While Singh is likely to remain the BJP’s CM candidate, Congress is yet to make an announcement on its chief ministerial candidate.