Modi attacks Cong over Article 370 and Ayodhya verdict

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during an election campaign at Khunti district of Jharkhand. Photo by PTI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a two-pronged attack on the Congress, accusing it of procrastinating resolution of national issues like Article 370 and the Ayodhya dispute, and presiding over "corrupt and unstable" governments in Jharkhand.

Stumping for BJP nominees for the Jharkhand assembly polls, Modi harped on the repeal of provisions of Article 370 that gave the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir its special status, and the Ayodhya tangle--themes that have underpinned both his and party chief Amit Shah's campaign rallies in the state.

"The talk of Article 370 was on since Independence. The Constitution said the article was a temporary provision. Article 370 is now gone from Jammu and Kashmir.

"Tell me whether the entire country has stood behind us on the issue or not. Tell me the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have stood behind us on this or not. When things are done with good intentions, you have the blessings of the whole country," Modi told an election rally in Jamshedpur.

Amid roaring applause by the crowd, the prime minister spoke about the Ayodhya tangle.

"Did Ram Janmabhoomi (dispute) happen after we came to power? Was it not the Congress party that obstructed a resolution? Was it not done for vote bank politics?" he asked an indulgent audience that shouted "yes" in the emphatic endorsement.

While speaking about the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, Modi sought to strike a chord with the vast tribal electorate in the state when he talked of Lord Ram's links with forest dwellers.

"Lord Ram left Ayodhya as a prince but returned as 'Maryada Purushottam' 14 years later as he spent time with Adivasis in forests, imbibed their values," he said.

The prime minister said while the Congress only got things tangled up "uljhaana", it was left to the BJP to "disentangle" (suljhaana) difficult situations.

He launched a blistering attack on the opposition JMM-Congress alliance in Jharkhand, alleging it followed the politics of "deception" while the BJP believed in serving people.

Modi alleged rampant corruption and political instability were the hallmarks of the governments helmed by the JMM-Congress alliance.

"Even the chief minister's chair was up for sale. Until five years ago, Jharkhand used to be in news for political instability. It saw 10 chief ministers in 15 years before the BJP government led by Raghubar Das came and lasted a full term. Before him CMs got changed faster than the weather," he said.

Modi cited his 13-year stint as the Gujarat chief minister as an example of what a stable government can achieve. "Gujarat kahan se kahan pahunch gaya (see how Gujarat progressed)," he said.

He said the first phase of polling on November 30 had clearly shown that the "backbone of Naxalism has been broken".

The prime minister told the rally in Khunti that heavy polling proved people's faith in democracy and nation-building in an environment conducive for development.

Modi asked voters to be wary of the opposition alliance as it was only interested in the "loot of Jharkhand's resources".

At the rally in the steel city of Jamshedpur, Modi spoke extensively about steps taken by his government for improving the condition of the labour force and industrial development.

He said his government wanted to develop Jharkhand as a silk and textile hub.

Jamshedpur, he said, had played a significant role in catapulting India to the position of second-largest steel manufacturer in the world.

"My government has great concern for labourers, particularly those in the unorganised sector," he said, adding the 'Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana', the pension scheme for labourers will benefit a large number of people working in the unorganised sector.

All welfare programmes of the Centre were devised keeping in mind their welfare, he said.

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