Modi called upon the people of Bastar to vote for the BJP and teach the Congress a lesson for its double standards on Naxalism.
Bhopal: Hitting the campaign trail in Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday slammed the Congress for backing “urban” Maoists who lead luxurious life and drive big cars in cities but ruin lives of poor tribals in the Bastar region by instigating them to take up arms against the government.
Addressing a rally in Jagdalpur ahead of the first phase of Assembly polls scheduled on Monday, Mr Modi regretted that “urban” Maoists live in air-conditioned houses, roam in luxury cars and send their children abroad for education, but they play havoc in lives of poor adivasis of Bastar by remote-controlling their life.
“Urban Maoists hit the streets whenever the state government takes action against Naxals,” he said.
“Why is the Congress supporting them? Will you forgive the Congress for supporting urban Naxals?” he asked the gathering.
Mr Modi called upon the people of Bastar to vote for the BJP and teach the Congress a lesson for its double standards on Naxalism.
“I want to ask the Congress why it supports ‘urban’ Maoists when the government takes action against them and comes to Bastar and speaks against Naxalism,” he said.
The PM’s remarks came in the wake of a recent statement by Congress campaigner Raj Babbar in Chhattisgarh describing Maoists as “revolutionaries who seek to bring changes in the society”.
BJP leaders regularly use the term “urban” Maoists to refer to people in the cities who they allege are involved in carrying out anti-national activities. The term “urban” Naxal/Maoists had come into prominence in August following the arrest of Left-leaning activists on charges of abetting Maoists. Following the arrests, BJP president Amit Shah had accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of raising a “hue and cry” over the arrest of “ urban” Naxals. The Opposition says Mr Modi cannot stomach criticism and the action against the activists is aimed at silencing them.
The campaigning on Friday was Mr Modi’s sixth visit to Bastar, known as the Maoist hotbed, after he became Prime Minister in 2014.
He said that the previous governments run by the Congress had done little to improve the condition of tribals of Bastar and used to blame the Naxal problem for not being able to undertake developmental works.
“But, the state BJP government has undertaken development of the region in a massive way by spreading road and rail networks despite facing resistance from Maoists,” he said.
“I appeal to you to ensure that the BJP wins all the 12 Assembly seats in Bastar in the coming polls. If anyone else wins, then Bastar youths’ dreams of a bright future will be derailed,” he said.
The Prime Minister also accused the Congress of mocking adivasis (tribals) and “dehumanising” the dalits, underprivilged, victims and poor.
“I don’t know why the 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 of adivasi culture,” he said, adding that the Congress is not ready to see adivasis as humans.
Mr Modi also paid tributes to Doordarshan’s cameraman Achyutanand Sahu, who was killed by Naxals last month in Chhattisgarh. Sahu and two security personnel were killed on October 30 in a Naxal attack in Dantewada district, located around 450 km from the state capital Raipur.
Twelve Assembly seats in the Bastar region and six in Rajnandgaon district are going to polls in the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh on November 12. People in the remaining 72 constituencies will vote on November 20. Counting of votes is on December 11.
Out of 12 Assembly seats in Bastar, the Congress won eight seats leaving the rest four to the ruling BJP in the 2013.