Jagdalpur (Chhatiisgarh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of defending “urban Maoists who ruin the lives of tribal children” as he addressed his first rally for upcoming Chhattisgarh Assembly elections on Friday.

Addressing supporters in Jagdalpur, Modi said the Congress had exposed its “hypocrisy” by questioning the arrests of “urban Maoists”. “I urge the people of Bastar to teach a fitting lesson to the Congress leaders, who on the one hand try to shield urban Maoists, but condemn Naxalism in election speeches,” Modi said.

“Urban Maoists live in AC surroundings, move around in big cars and their children study abroad, but they ruin the lives of our poor adivasi (tribal) youth here through remote control. Why is the Congress supporting these urban Maoists?” he added.

The PM said his government was sparing no efforts in strengthening Naxal-affected Bastar, adding that he was determined to fulfil the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “prosperous vision” for the region.
“The will not be divided into ‘tera-mera’ anymore. The Congress is trying to develop just one family. But it will be taught a fitting lesson in upcoming elections,” the PM said.

The Prime Minister also paid tributes on Friday to national broadcaster Doordarshan’s cameraman Achyutanand Sahu, who was killed by Naxals last month in Chhattisgarh.

Sahu and two security personnel were killed on October 30 in a Naxal attack in Dantewada district, located around 450 km from the state capital Raipur.

“An innocent cameraman of Doordarshan, Achyutanand Sahu, who was doing his duty was killed by Maoists. He was sharing the dreams of people of Bastar with other people across the country, what was his fault?” Modi asked.

Modi’s speech in Jagdalpur came minutes after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused his government of helping loan defaulters like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya escape abroad.

The two leaders are holding rival rallies in the poll-bound state.

The campaigning for the first phase will end on Saturday.

The first phase on November 12 will see 18 seats of eight Naxal-affected districts go to polls. Of these, 12 are Scheduled Tribe seats while one is a Scheduled Caste-reserved seat.

The ruling BJP had lost 12 of the 18 seats in the 2013 Assembly polls.

The remaining 72 constituencies will witness polling on November 20 and counting of votes will be held on December 11.

A total of1,291 candidates are in the fray for the two phased state polls.

In the 2013 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39, BSP 1 and Independent 1 in the 90-member House.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai

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