PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took a swipe at Congress saying its leaders remained oblivious to tribals for a very long time even though tribals have been living in the country since the days of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. Canvassing for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jambusar town in tribal-dominated Bharuch district in poll-bound Gujarat, the Prime Minister also said that leaders of Congress mocked him for wearing traditional tribal attire at public functions.
“For a very long time, Congress leaders remained unaware of the existence of tribals in India. Weren't they living here since the days of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna?.. Weren't they part of the 1857 mutiny? Tribals did so many things for this country. But, Congress leaders never knew that Adivasis exist.”
“Otherwise, why was there no separate Ministry for tribals until Atal Behari Vajpayee became prime minister? It was Ataljee's government at the Centre which carved out a separate ministry and allocated a budget for their welfare. Even today, Congress leaders make fun of me for wearing tribal attire,” Modi said while addressing a poll rally.
The Prime Minister, who is campaigning in his home state since November 19, said Adivasis cannot expect Congress will improve their condition because leaders of Congress mock tribal outfits and insult tribals at regular intervals. Addressing a gathering in Surendranagar town, Modi said, some people abuse Gujarat even after eating salt manufactured in the state.
Gujarat produces 80 per cent of the country’s salt, he added. Modi said people who were dethroned long back were taking out yatra to get back the power. They can do it but they are walking with those who stalled the Narmada dam project for 40 years. Modi was referring to Narmada Bachao Andolan spearhead Medha Patkar joining the Rahul Gandhi-led ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Maharashtra recently.
Addressing a poll rally in Navsari town in south Gujarat, Modi said, “In the past, no one ever imagined that Gujarat could become number one in terms of development in the country. And today, it has become possible. Gujarat now has the best roads, 24-hour electricity, tap water connection, and many other basic amenities,” the Prime Minister said. He said Gujarat could become number one because the people of the State voted as per their wisdom and elected BJP “without falling pray to any false propaganda or lucrative promises”. “Politicians in Delhi are fond of eating Navsari’s chiku. But, unfortunately, after eating Navsari’s chiku, they abuse us after coming to Gujarat,” the Prime Minister said without taking names.