Beed: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched an all out attack on the erstwhile ruling Congress-NCP combine in Maharashtra over corruption, accusing it of "destroying a whole generation" but refrained from criticising former ally Shiv Sena.
"It was a union where as the clock ticked, the hand polished off everything. Now nothing has been left. Every young person in Maharashtra is under a huge burden of debt because of corruption," he said, while referring to the election symbols of NCP and Congress which ended their 15-year-old alliance just before the elections .
"Nobody benefited from the Congress-NCP government. Farmers, dalits, youth, adivasis, women, villages, towns... none benefited.....A whole generation was destroyed," Modi said addressing his first election rally at Beed, the parliamentary constituency of former Union Minister Gopinath Munde, who died in a car crash earlier this year.
Describing Congress and NCP as two sides of the same coin, he said, "Amitabh hosts Kaun Banega Crorepati. The Maharashtra government used to play Kaun Banega Arabpati everyday" and urged people to vote for BJP to end corruption.
As during his Lok Sabha poll campaign, Modi once again drew comparison between Gujarat and Maharashtra over development.
"Maharashtra is like an elder brother. We (Gujarat and Maharashtra) were together once. You (the people) gave political stability to them (Congress-NCP) but they did not care and now Maharashtra is known for all the wrong reasons.
"I want to take Maharashtra ahead of Gujarat. I want it to be at the top of all states, but for that I need a government from which I can take work," Modi said.
Though he did not even once refer to Shiv Sena, whith which BJP parted ways over seat sharing, in his 25-minute speech, Modi invoked Maratha king Shivaji, the enduring icon of that party.
"This is the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji. His success lay in creating Hindavi Swaraj with the help of small people. People ask me what is my vision. I tell them I am a small man and think small things for small people. These small people have now given me the power to do big things for them while seated in Delhi," he said.
Hitting back at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who attacked his government over inflation and price rise earlier in the day, Modi said, "Those who ruled for 60 years are demanding the account of what my government did in 60 days. Petrol and diesel prices are down. I promise you I will pull the country out of the current mess in 60 months."
"Has inflation come down? Is the poor man getting food
at cheaper rate? Have the unemployed got jobs?" Sonia had said addressing an election rally in Haryana.
Targeting Congress which had described his US visit as 'over hyped and disappointing', Modi asked, "Was India's presence ever felt in the US like this?".
"It is not because of Modi but because of 1.25 crore countrymen. No country can afford to ignore a man behind whom 1.25 crore people stand. Today, the ruler and the society stand together," he said.
Referring to his Summit-level meetings with world leaders, he said both China and Japan would set up state-of-the-art industrial parks in states including Maharashtra. Japan, he said, will cooperate in construction of high-speed railway between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
"All these will create large-scale employment," he said, adding the deal with China for solid waste management and waste water treatment will provide water for irrigation in villages of drought prone regions like Beed.
Without naming NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Modi said nothing was done to stop farmers suicide in Maharashtra when he was Union Agriculture Minister.
"Those who did farmers' politics in Delhi did not do anything to prevent the suicides. 3700 farmers kill themselves each year in the state. Will the farmers of Maharashtra be continued to be murdered like this?" he said.
"There is no difference between Congress and NCP, they belong to the same clan. They set separate shops for some reason but their character, ideology, habits and goals are one. They are not nationalists, they are 'bhrashtacharvadi' (corrupt)," he said.
Modi repeatedly invoked Munde, a prominent backward class leader of Maharashtra, whom he called his younger brother, to seek a majority for BJP and its four smaller allies during the Assembly poll.
Munde's elder daughter Pankaja is BJP candidate for Parli Assembly seat, while her younger sister Preetam is contesting by-poll for Beed Lok Sabha seat lying vacant following the death of their father.