New Delhi, 28 March 2014(IANS): BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Thursday urged the Maoists to shun violence and took potshots at the central and Bihar governments for being soft on terrorism.
“This land of Buddha has blood. The same land that gave message of peace to the world has blood. There should be no terrorism and terrorists must be punished, but can those sitting in Delhi and Patna do this,” Modi said in Bihar’s Gaya, recalling the blasts in Bodh Gaya.
Bodh Gaya in Gaya district is one of the holy places for the Buddhists. A series of ten explosions occurred in and around the Mahabodhi temple there and five people, including monks, were injured.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader lambasted the Nitish Kumar government for not doing enough to combat terror attacks. The Janata Dal-United, a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, broke the ties with the BJP last June after it nominated Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. “Tourism provides opportunities to the poorest of the poor. After the terror attack in Bodh Gaya last year, the number of tourists has dropped,” he added.
Modi, who addressed four public meetings on his second day of “Bharat Vijay Rally” in Gaya and Sasaram of Bihar, and Chatra and Gumla of Jharkhand, also asked the youth in the four Maoist-hit districts to take up education instead of guns. “Don’t arm the gullible youth with guns,” said Modi, also the Gujarat chief minister, in Gumla, nearly 100 km from state capital Ranchi. “Instead, pick up the ploughs and distribute them among youngsters for you need to feed scores of people who sleep hungry in this country. Also ensure the youth picks up the pen as only education can lead to progress and development in the villages,” he said.
The rallies came on a day when a ‘Bandh’ (shutdown) was called by the Maoists to boycott elections. In Gaya, two cell phone towers were blown up by Maoists early on Thursday.
Modi later tweeted that the crowd at the rallies showed the victory of democracy over guns. “Despite Maoists giving a call not to come to the rally, there was record attendance! It shows the victory of democracy over the gun.”
Some chaos was also reported from the rally in Gaya where police resorted to baton-charge to control the crowd. He also used the opportunity to launch a sharp attack against the Congress. “Congress manifesto is a bundle of lies … The Congress had promised to control food prices in 2004 and 2009 and the same promise has been made in 2014,” Modi said in Gumla. “The Congress had promised jobs to everyone, and the same promises have been made again,” Modi said, adding that the Election Commission should frame a legislation so that parties which win elections should be made answerable vis-a-vis the promises made in their manifestos. “This will prevent the lies (from getting into) the manifesto.”
Modi accused the Congress of ignoring tribal interests all over the country, and also came down heavily on the Maoist guerrillas. He highlighted that it was the BJP-led government that led to formation of Jharkhand.
In Sasaram, the home turf of Congress leader and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, he said the condition of her constituency was very bad. “She is a powerful MP but people are without power and water. It’s high time to break ties with the Congress,” he said. The BJP has 12 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and seven of the 14 seats in Jharkhand.