RAIPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lashed out at Congress, accusing the party of trying to protect “urban naxals” facing legal action initiated by the government and said Maoists enjoying city comforts were ruining the lives of poor tribals in remote areas.
“You issue statements to protect urban Maoists. You take to the field if the government takes legal action against them. (Aap urban Maowadi ke raksha ke liye bayanbaazi karte ho, unke khilaf agar sarkar kanooni karwahi kare to aap unko bachane ke liye maidan mein aate ho),” Modi told a rally at Jagdalpur, his first ahead of elections in Maoist-affected areas on November 12.
“Urban Maoists live in air-conditioned surroundings, move in luxury cars and send their children to study abroad, but ruin the lives of children here,” Modi said and targeted Congress for defending naxals who he described as “monsters” who put guns in the hands of children and burn schools. “Naxalites kill our jawans and Congress calls them revolutionaries. The nation will never forgive such politicians.”
The PM’s remarks in poll-bound Chhattisgarh, often a battleground between activists and government agencies over human rights and extremism, brought into sharp political focus the recent arrests of five activists for allegedly collaborating with the banned CPI (Maoist) which, the opposition said, were intended to stifle dissent.
The arrests were opposed by Congress with Rahul Gandhi tweeting, "There is only place for one NGO in India and it's called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India." BJP had strongly defended the action of the Maharashtra police and said the arrests were an example of resolute action against Maoist sympathisers and accused Congress of acting out of political considerations.
“Naxals put guns in the hands of children, who should be holding pens instead. Isn’t this the act of a monster? Those who burn down schools have the mindset of monsters,” the PM told the crowd, adding: “We have to change Bastar, we have to keep Bastar safe. If people want to create a new Bastar, they must support BJP in all seats.”
Modi said the Congress-led UPA government was at the Centre for 10 years, but “never paid attention to the needs of Chhattisgarh and blocked all development for the state”.
“They never thought of the state’s progress. But NDA government did not give up on the promise of developing Chhattisgarh. The development that Congress couldn’t bring about in 10 years has been done by NDA in four and a half years,” the PM added.
The Prime Minister accused Congress of “dehumanising” Dalits, the underprivileged and the poor, and “only looking at them only as vote banks”.
“I want to fulfil the dream of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dreams. That is why I come to you so often. I will not rest till Bastar is developed,” he said, adding: “Chhattisgarh saw development because you voted for BJP (in 2003). The day is not far off when this state will be among the most developed in the country.”
Modi also paid tributes to Doordarshan cameraman Achyutanand Sahu, who was killed in a Maoist attack in Dantewada 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 people of Bastar with other people across the country, what was his fault?” Modi asked.