MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking to blunt the talk by rivals that the BJP will divide Maharashtra if voted to power in the state, declared that “no power” can split Maharashtra while asserting that his party will secure an absolute majority in the Assembly polls.
“Congress leaders have been spreading lies on cotton and onion for the last 10 years. They have started spreading a new lie. They say Maharashtra will be split.
“Has anyone been born in this country who can divide the land of Shivaji ?” he said addressing a rally in Dhule district.
“I assure you that as long as I am in Delhi, no power in the world can split Maharashtra and also separate Mumbai from Maharashtra,” he said, touching upon the contentious issue of creation of a separate Vidarbha, a day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray alleged that the BJP wanted to “break the state into pieces”.
Addressing well-attended rallies at Erandol in Jalgaon district and Nagpur, where enthusiastic crowds frequently broke into chants of “Modi! Modi!”, the PM targeted the Congress and NCP but made no mention of the Shiv Sena, despite its leaders’ rant against him and the BJP.
Modi said political pundits will be proved wrong once again as the BJP will win a majority despite all the predictions of a hung Assembly.
“If political pundits are proved wrong again, I will be sad. Before the Lok Sabha polls, the pundits said the BJP will get 120 seats, that Modi is new and nobody knows him outside Gujarat… But the BJP alone got 282 and, with allies, we crossed the 300 mark. All pundits were proved wrong.
“Their calculations failed as they used the old yardstick,” Modi said at a rally in Nagpur.
“Even this time, pundits are saying there will be hung Assembly. I want to tell them, if you have time, just look at the massive crowds at my rallies in Maharashtra and the people’s enthusiasm,” he said, adding: “This will be an unprecedented election in the history of Maharashtra and the BJP will win a full majority.”
But despite Modi’s remarks, BJP Maharashtra chief Devendra Fadnavis tweeted that the state BJP remained firm on the formation of a Vidarbha state.
“We have a strategy of small states, and we are firm on our stand to form Vidarbha state,” Fadnavis told reporters in Nagpur. “(Mr) Modi is also aware of our demand”, he added.
Congress-NCP ‘steeped’ in corruption
After the BJP came to power in New Delhi, while most BJP leaders have backtracked, Fadnavis continued to support the demand for a separate Vidarbha.
Minister of state for I&B Prakash Javadekar also supported Fadnavis, saying that if the BJP won a comfortable majority, it would create a separate Vidarbha.
In his rally speeches, the Prime Minister also accused successive Congress-NCP governments in the state of being “steeped” in corruption, and said it was time to “wash away” its “sins of 15 years”.
Speaking at a rally at Erandol, he said: “15th October is the festival of washing away the sins of the 15 years of Congress-NCP governments, to bring an end to 15 years of corruption and destruction.”
He added: “The governments in Maharashtra did not spare anything and anybody from corruption.
“They snatched away food from the platters of children who were supposed to get it under the mid-day meal scheme, they left the farms thirsty and took away electricity meant for farmers.”
Modi said: “I know what poverty is, the pain one feels when one does not have money to buy medicine for an ailing mother… I want that the youth does not have to leave their old parents, their villages, their farms behind and go looking for jobs in cities.”
The PM said he wanted the spirit of “Team India” to define Centre-state relations.
“I want the spirit of Team India to define Centre-state relations. The Prime Minister and chief ministers should work as a team and the voices from states are heard… I want the journey of development to be like that.”
Modi added: “If a non-BJP state government stands with the Centre, then it is one plus one, that is two.
“But if another BJP state government is there, the total will be one plus one, that is eleven.” – From The Asian Age