New Delhi: Three days before Chhattisgarh’s Bastar goes to polls in the first phase on 12 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an election rally in India’s red corridor, tore into Naxalism, a day after four civilians and one security personnel were gunned down by Naxals in Dantewada, on Thursday.
Taking a dig at ‘urban Naxals’ and the Congress party for tacitly extending support to them, Modi, on Friday, accused urban Naxals for “remote controlling” Naxalism in the state.
“The tribal children should be studying, but instead the Naxals hand them weapons and destroy their lives. Urban Naxals stay in cities and have luxurious lives, their children are well educated but they remote control the lives of adivasi children and destroy their lives. The Congress should respond why they stand up for the urban Naxals. If the government prosecutes them, the Congress stands up for them and here they denounce Naxalism,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister urged people to go out and vote on 12 November. “The Naxals had killed adivasi leaders who were working for the development of Bastar. Even today the Congress leaders don’t have a response to that. Doordarshan journalist Achyutanand Sahu was working to capture the state’s development on camera. But the Naxals killed him in cold blood.”
With Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi going head-to-head in Bastar in parallel rallies in Chhattisgarh, sitting chief minister Raman Singh also spelt out the party’s development initiatives in the state.
With Bastar’s Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur and Rajnandgaon going to polls on Monday, the BJP is looking to make in-roads into the Maoist-affected districts. Following the 2013 Assembly polls, Congress held 12 of the 18 Assembly constituencies going to polls in the first phase in Chhattisgarh, while the remaining six seats were with the BJP.
“Education is progressing and infrastructure development is also progressing. The Congress could never establish this. Today we are making sure that no tribal or poor person in Bastar goes hungry. We are distributing rice for the poor at Re 1 per kilo. Farmers cultivating ‘tendu patta’ are being given an MSP of Rs 2500 per quintal, up from Rs 400 per quintal. About 3000 kilometres of road and bridge construction is also underway in Bastar,” according to Raman Singh.
Taking a dig at the previous UPA governments, Modi stated even though finances were available to the “previous governments”, the funds were controlled by “a select few rich people.” Stressing on the need for an all-inclusive development policy for Bastar, Modi added that Naxalism needed to be side-stepped and development ushered into the region.
“We need to make Bastar so strong that unemployment, poverty and hunger can be eradicated and we are trying constantly and that is why I have come here. This is our responsibility because you have reposed that faith and responsibility in us,” Modi added.
While the state government has set up BPOs in Bijapur and Dantewada, while also completing work at the Nagarnar steel plant in the state, chief minister Raman Singh added that increased road and rail connectivity and the eventual onset of various Central schemes such as the Ujjwala Yojana and Ayushman Bharat would change the face of Bastar.
“In the coming years development will be quadrupled in Bastar. Villages will have telephones and Internet facilities. PM Modi had promised there would be no village or district in Bastar without electricity, and he had fulfilled it,” Singh said.