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Congress failed to control Naxals: PM

By, , , Hyderabad/bhopal/raipur
Nov 08, 2023 05:16 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress government in Chhattisgarh of corruption and failure in tackling Maoism. He also accused the Opposition of insulting backward communities and claimed that only the BJP protected the interests of marginalised castes. Modi made these remarks during three separate poll rallies in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana. He promised that if the BJP won the November 30 polls, the next chief minister of Telangana would be from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community.

The Congress government in Chhattisgarh is corrupt and failed to tackle Maoism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, as he accused the Opposition of insulting backward communities and asserted that only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protected the interests of marginalised castes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union minister G Kishan Reddy in Hyderabad on Tuesday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union minister G Kishan Reddy in Hyderabad on Tuesday. (PTI)

Speaking in three separate poll rallies in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, the PM accused the Congress of insulting other backward classes (OBCs) in their eagerness to abuse him, and blamed dynastic politics for holding back the development of weaker castes. He also promised that the next chief minister of Telangana would be from the OBC community if the BJP won the November 30 polls.

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Speaking first in north Chhattisgarh’s Surajpur, which votes on November 17, Modi alleged that the Congress government had failed to contain Maoism. “Whenever the Congress comes to power in the country, terrorists and Maoists get emboldened. News of bomb blasts and murders are reported, and wherever the Congress is in power, there is the rule of crime and loot,” Modi said.

Pointing to the deaths of at least five BJP workers this year, killed by alleged Maoists, Modi said, “Just recently, our party workers were snatched from us. A few days ago, our colleague (party leader) was shot dead...do you want to live under the shadow of bombs and guns? No matter how much money you have, if your son doesn’t return home in the evening and his body comes home, then what is that money worth?”

Modi’s comments came on a day when parts of Chhattisgarh and Mizoram went to the polls in the first phase of the assembly elections.

Modi said the office of Baghel — who is battling allegations of irregularities linked with the Mahadev betting app — was the hub of corruption in the state. He targeted Baghel with the slogan “30 take kakka, khule aam satta” (30% commission uncle, open betting). Baghel is often referred to as “kaka” in the state.

He said that Baghel was embroiled in a scam committed in the name of Mahadev, that had since become the subject matter of discussions both in India and abroad. The Enforcement Directorate has said it is investigating allegations from a man reportedly involved in the operations of the illegal betting racket that the app’s promoters paid Baghel 508 crore, an allegation the chief minister has denied.

”The chief minister’s close associates are behind bars, and large sums of money have been found in raids..Serious allegations against the chief minister have been made regarding bribes of over 500 crore. After such an accusation, he should not be allowed to remain in the chief minister’s chair even for a day. Even Congress veterans have distanced themselves from the chief minister,” Modi said.

Baghel hit back. “The BJP has accepted its defeat as they are using agencies to target opposition leaders. They (ED, IT) will take a short break. After November 17, they will take a break. They also have families. Before Lok Sabha (elections), they will again return,” he said.

Then, speaking at Sidhi in Madhya Pradesh, Modi accused the Congress of abusing OBCs in its eagerness to insult him, and said the party “opposed the progress of the poor, Dalits and tribals”.

“They can forget everything else but they never forget to abuse me in the morning and evening. But while they abuse me, they have started abusing the OBC community.” he said.

Speaking in a constituency that has a considerable tribal population and where the BJP dropped its incumbent lawmaker Kedarnath Shukla after a video of his relative urinating on a tribal man went viral, Modi said that the Congress never acknowledged the community when it was in power between 2004 and 2014.

“We were all aware but the Congress didn’t know that a tribal community existed in our country. That is why they didn’t create a separate ministry and department for tribals. They didn’t allocate a separate budget for them. It is Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government that created a separate ministry for tribals and crores of rupees were allocated in the budget for them,” Modi said.

Madhya Pradesh goes to the polls on November 17, and the BJP is hoping to stave off a challenge from the Congress.

The Prime Minister said that the Congress was relegated to the margins after being wiped out from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. “Once Congress loses its ground, it is never allowed to return... The poor, Dalits, tribals and OBCs have realised that Congress doesn’t represent them”, he added.

The Congress said it had tackled Maoism.​

“The central reports claimed that Maoist violence decreased and even the governor of the state acknowledged the fact in the assembly. I don’t know why the BJP is misleading the state ...I believe that they are losing assembly election and are hence frustrated ,“ said RP Singh, Congress spokesperson.

In his third meeting, in Hyderabad, Modi addressed the “Backward Classes Atma Gourava Sabha” (self-respect for backward classes meeting) and said that in 2014 the country voted for an OBC — referring to himself — and added that the journey that began at a rally in the southern city in 2013.

“In 2013, I addressed my first meeting in Telangana at this ground…That laid the foundation for making Modi the PM. With the blessings of the people from this maidan, the first backward class chief minister of the BJP will also emerge,” he said.

Modi said it was the BJP and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that protected the interests of OBCs and other marginalised groups. “There are 27 OBC ministers in the NDA government at the Centre, the highest since Independence. Today, the BJP has 85 OBC MPs, 365 OBC assembly members and 65 OBC legislative council members across the country,” he said.

Leaders of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which governs Telangana, criticised Modi.“If Modi has such love for the OBCs, he should explain why an OBC leader was sacked as the Telangana BJP chief and replaced by an upper caste person,” BRS spokesperson Dasoju Sravan said. The BRS, Congress and BJP are locked in a triangular fight for the southern state.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    State Correspondent for Chhattisgarh. Reports Maoism, Politics, Mining and important developments from the state. Covered all sorts of extremism in Central India. Reported from Madhya Pradesh for eight years.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Ranjan Srivastava leads HT’s coverage from Bhopal. He has spent more than two decades in journalism in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, covering political and other affairs. For the past 16 years, he has been working in Madhya Pradesh.

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