Campaigning in Chhattisgarh three days before it goes to the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday trained his guns on the Congress, accusing it of sympathising with the Maoists — a charge denied by the latter.
“You people must have seen the urban Maoists, seated in air-conditioned rooms in cities, who look good, are in good company and enjoy status. Their children study abroad,” he told a rally at Jagdalpur ahead of the first phase of elections on Monday. “But while seated there, through remote control, they ruin the lives of the tribal children here.”
The Prime Minister accused the Congress of backing the so-called urban Maoists. “If the government acts against them, then you (Congress) try to save them,” he said, in a possible reference to the arrests of several activists by Pune police in late August on charges of having Maoist links.
He claimed Congress leaders were practising double standards by vowing to rid the state of Maoists when they were in Chhattisgarh but in reality sympathising with the rebels.
Referring to the killing of Doordarshan cameraman Achutyanand Sahu by the Maoists on October 30, Modi slammed the Congress for calling the rebels ‘revolutionaries’. “He had come with a camera and not a gun. He came to share your dreams with the world through his camera but he was killed by Maoists….But shamefully the Congress calls them revolutionaries,” he said.
Terming the Maoists “monsters with an evil mindset”, the PM said earlier governments have not done enough for the development of Bastar. “I appeal to you to ensure that BJP wins all seats in Bastar. If anyone else wins, it will be a blot on Bastar’s dreams,” he said.
Claiming that the Congress had taken a jibe at him for wearing tribal headgear at a rally in the north-east, he said, “That was an insult of tribal culture. I don’t know why Congress makes fun of tribals.”
Modi then switched to heaping praises on chief minister Raman Singh. “Despite all obstacles, Raman Singh has brought development to the state whereas the Congress ignored the state,” the PM said.
Congress spokesperson R P Singh said the BJP’s desperation was showing in what he called the baseless allegations made by the Prime Minister. “The Congress has always stood with the poor and the marginalised whereas the BJP is a government for the rich as they have handed over the land of tribals to them,” Singh alleged. On Modi’s allegation on urban Maoists, Singh said several Congress leaders had lost their lives while fighting Maoists.
The first phase of the Chhattisgarh elections will see polling in 18 seats in eight Maoist-affected districts on Monday.
First Published: Nov 10, 2018 00:11 IST
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