Modi kickstarts campaign from Bastar, says Congress sympathising with Maoists

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Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) (IANS): Kickstarting his election campaign in Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused the Congress of sympathising with Maoists and calling them "revolutionary" and ruining the lives of tribals.

"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 public rally here ahead of the first phase of the two-phase election in the state on Monday.

"But while seated there, through remote control, they ruin the lives of the tribal children here," the Prime Minister said, adding that a bunch of such people were contesting elections this time. 

Modi accused the Congress of supporting the Urban Maoists with statements and said: "If the government acts against them, then you (Congress) try to save them."

Modi said that when the Congress comes to Chhattisgarh, "they speak about freeing the state from Maoists".

"Should we forgive such people? Those who ruin your life, should we forgive them?" Modi asked the crowd. 

Slamming the Congress for describing the Maoist as revolutionary, Modi said: "A cameraman from Doordarshan news named Achutyanand Sahu was killed here a few days ago. 

"He had come with a camera and not a gun. He came to share your dreams to the world through his camera but he was killed by Maoists. Three of our troopers were also killed by the Maoists here. But shamefully the Congress calls them revolutionary," he alleged.

"What kind of language they are speaking. The country will never forgive them. They are only speaking lies and misleading the people of the country," he said.

Modi also targeted the Congress for considering the tribals, marginalised and Dalits as their vote bank and said they don't consider them as "humans". 

He said the Congress, despite ruling the country for long, never thought of a tribal ministry.

"It was late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who made a separate tribal ministry and made a separate budget for them," Modi said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that before he came to power in 2014, for 10 years, the Congress ruled the Centre. 

"They did not pay any attention towards the needs of Chhattisgarh. They never thought of the region's progress. They tried to halt the work of development in the state. 

"But despite all obstacles, (Chief Minister) Raman Singh has brought development to the state," he said. In the last four years, the state had got funds that were not given in 10 years.

Speaking about the time when Madhya Pradesh was ruled by the Congress and when Chhattisgarh was its part, Modi said: "Everyone knew what the people had to suffer. The Congress never thought about the aspirations of the people.

"We are sparing no efforts to develop Bastar. We are making efforts to enhance the quality of life of people here." 

In an apparent jibe at Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Modi said: "Those who were born with golden spoon never understood the problems of tribals."

The first phase of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh will see polling in 18 seats in eight Maoist-affected districts. The ruling BJP had lost 12 of the 18 seats in the 2013 Assembly polls. The remaining 72 constituencies will go to polls in the second phase on November 20.

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