Pilibhit: Hitting the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday made a scathing attack on BJP by describing its ideology as against the composite culture of the state and said the party had always "divided the country."
"BJP leaders want to give a turn to the Lok Sabha elections on communal issues, but we all need to give more emphasis on national issues. This time the big national issue is whether the country should have a government led by a party which has always divided the country," Singh said while addressing an election rally in favour of his party candidate here, sitting MLA Sanjay Kapoor.
Referring to the controversial statement by BJP leader Amit Shah asking voters to avenge Muzaffarnagar riots, the Prime Minister said, "You have heard the speech of one of the BJP leaders.
The question before you today is whether you will tolerate it and till when. UP is known for its mixed culture and there is a tradition of respecting each others religion, and I want to tell you that BJP`s ideology and works are against this `ganga-jamuni tehzib` (composite culture)".
"Uttar Pradesh has always been politically important, and this time also the Lok Sabha results in the state would decide who would form the government at the Centre," Singh said.
Attacking BJP over the delay in the issue of its manifesto, Singh said, "BJP released its manifesto on the day when polling had already started in some states. This proves that they are not serious about putting up their policies before the people.
"BJP`s campaigning is centralised on one person. He is making promises which he will never be able to fulfil. Despite the passage of so many years, BJP`s manifesto has the same issues of Ram Temple and Article 370." Singh said.
The Prime Minister said, "People of UP are known for their political understanding. I hope you will take a decision after giving full consideration (to every issue) and strengthen the hands of Soniaji and Rahulji."
"Congress is the oldest political party and ever since the Independence, it has worked for the progress of the country. It is only Congress which can give a strong and progressive government and take the country ahead on the path of development," he said.
"Ten years ago, UPA-led by Congress came to power at the Centre with a massive mandate. We knew that your mandate was as much for right to equality as it was for economic development. Your mandate was for taking care of minorities, brothers and sisters of SCs and STs, women, children and others belonging to the weaker sections of society," he said.
The Prime Minister said, "We honestly worked hard to fulfil the aspirations and so people of the country gave us another chance to form the government in 2009."
"The UPA II also worked for the people and though we got huge success in some areas. I also accept that we could not get as much success as we ought to have got in some others," Singh said.
Singh said when he thought about the past 10 years, he found that the picture of the country had changed a lot during this period and the progress made in this decade had never been achieved earlier.
"I believe that there is a need to bring the achievements of our government (before the people) as because of the election fervour and wrong propaganda by political parties, the right issues are often not discussed," Singh said.
"Without economic development, neither poverty can be removed nor youths will get employment," he added.
"We have achieved this under the circumstances when the world faced economic slowdown two times", he said, claiming that the poverty level had come down between 2004 and 2011.