Kheda/Bharuch/Surat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Gujarat and the country need to be "alert" about Congress and like-minded parties which keep mum on "big terrorist attacks" to not offend their vote bank, and also accused the grand old party of not respecting the tribal community.
In a veiled attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), he urged the people of Gujarat not to commit the sin of letting those, who gave election tickets to the anti-Narmada dam project forces in the past, set foot in the state.
The prime minister hit the campaign trail in Gujarat on Sunday, where he addressed rallies in Kheda district, Netrang, a tribal area in Bharuch district, and Surat city, where he also led a massive roadshow.
Gujarat elections are scheduled for December 1 and 5.
Speaking in Kheda, he said, "Terrorism is not over yet and the politics of the Congress has not also changed. The fear of terrorism will remain till appeasement politics continues."
"Congress views terrorism from the prism of vote bank, Not only Congress but many like-minded parties have come up now who view terrorism as a shortcut to achieve success and this small party's hunger for power is even bigger," he said, without naming the "small party".
The prime minister said the mouths of these parties remain "locked when big terrorist attacks take place so that their vote bank is not offended. They even go to courts from the back door to save terrorists".
“When Batla House encounter took place, a Congress leader cried for terrorists. Gujarat and the country should remain alert from such parties," he added.
The 2008 encounter near Delhi resulted in the deaths of two terrorists hiding in a flat in the Batla House area in Okhla and a police officer.
"Your one vote in 2014 (Lok Sabha elections) strengthened the fight against terrorism. Now forget about terror attacks in our cities, they (India's enemies) think 100 times before even conducting such attacks on our borders," the PM said, adding they know India will hit by entering their homes.
In an apparent reference to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the PM said Congress and like-minded parties had raised doubts about surgical strikes and the ability of our armed forces.
"Those countries which took terrorism lightly are in clutches of terrorism. Terrorism is not over yet. The politics of the Congress party has also not changed, while small parties are also indulging in vote bank politics,” he said.
The PM said, "till the vote bank politics remains the fear of a resurgence of terrorism is also real”.
"We have to save Gujarat from those playing the dirty game of terrorism. This is a long fight and we need your support," Modi said.
He said the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was the "epitome of terrorist attacks in the country".
"I pray for the departed souls," the PM said, a day after tributes were paid to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the 26/11 strike unleashed by 10 Pakistani terrorists in which 166 people were killed and several injured.
"Gujarat also faced serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat and many people had lost their lives,” he said.
Attacking Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge who is campaigning in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi said Kharge had said he will show "Modi his aukat (status)".
"Today Congress president is in Gujarat. He has been sent here by Soniaben (Sonia Gandhi). He came here and said he will show Modi his aukat. I have no status, I was born as a common man. Let us see how he shows me my aukat," the prime minister added.
Earlier, speaking at Netrang, he accused the Congress of having no respect for the tribal community in the country, and said it even opposed the candidature of Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election held earlier this year.
"Congress has no respect for tribals in the country...We decided to make our tribal daughter (Droupadi Murmu) the president of the country. We went to the Congress with folded hands to accept her (support her candidature), but they opposed. We put all our might and made the tribal daughter win the election," Modi said.
"Be it Birsa Munda or Govind Guru, the Congress did not give respect to tribal leaders of the country," he further alleged.
Modi also said that the entire world was amazed at how India has come out of such a big pandemic of COVID-19 in such a short span.
The PM said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in a big country like India was terrifying.
"The whole world faced such a terrifying pandemic. If someone gets sick at our home, we take four to five years to come out of it (financial effect). We faced the pandemic in such a big country. But the way we came out of it, the entire world is amazed. They are not able to understand how it happened," Modi said.
Addressing a mega rally in Mota Varachha area of Surat city, Modi said, "People of Surat should remember one thing. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the project, but it was stalled for 50 years. They (activists) ensured that no one in the world gave funds to Gujarat for the dam project. They (AAP) gave tickets to such people." "It is like committing a sin if we allow such people to set their foot in our state as they destroy the future of three generations," he added.
He was referring to the AAP, which had in given the Lok Sabha election ticket in 2014 to activist Medha Patkar, who ran a campaign against Sardar Sarovar dam.
"Thanks to this dam we were able to provide water to the parched areas of Saurashtra and Kutch," Modi, who was Gujarat chief minister between 2001 and 2014, said.
He also accused the Congress of stalling the project, and said he had to sit on a fast to when he was chief minister to raise the height of the dam.
Before addressing the rally in Surat city, PM Modi led a massive roadshow in the evening. Thousands of people gathered on both sides of the road along the 27-km route of the roadshow from the Surat airport to Varaccha, the city’s principal hub for diamond cutting and polishing.
Modi is scheduled to address four rallies on Monday.