Naxalite violence has declined over the last decade and efforts are on to rid the country of the Naxal menace before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.
Shah was speaking at a rally at Indira Stadium in Korba city of Chhattisgarh, a state affected by Maoist violence.
Sounding the poll bugle, the BJP leader also urged people to vote out the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in the state in the Assembly elections this year.
People should vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party if they wanted to see Narendra Modi as Prime Minister once again in 2024, he said, while blaming the Baghel government for a `rise' in crime and corruption.
"Naxalite incidents declined to 509 in 2021, from 2,258 in 2009 when the Congress was in power at the Centre," Shah said.
The Narendra Modi government not only ensured that the youth (in Naxalite-affected areas) who used to pick up weapons got access to education and employment, but also worked to eliminate those who wielded weapons, he said.
“Our government's effort is to make the country free of Naxalism before the 2024 parliamentary polls,” he added.
Taking a swipe at the Congress government, he said, “I want to ask Bhupesh Baghel what he will tell people if they ask him what he has done in his five years' rule….not that he has done nothing. He has worked to increase corruption, incidents of rape and crimes, and the cutting of forests of tribals.”
Shah also alleged corruption in the management of the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds under the Baghel government.
“The Modi government started DMF for the development and welfare of people (in mineral-rich areas)…Chhattisgarh received Rs 9,243 crore by way of DMF, but what has this government done with that money? I can tell you where it has gone. See the houses of Congressmen in your area.
Those who used to move around on scooter now have an Audi car. Their houses have turned into three-storey buildings ...Congress committed corruption in DMF funds,” the union minister alleged.
Shah urged people to teach a lesson to the Congress by voting it out of power and said a BJP government will seek account of every single rupee from Bhupesh Baghel.
“If you want to add momentum to the vehicle of development then you have to put a double engine in it. There is already one engine (referring to the Modi government) and you need to put another by electing the BJP in this year's Assembly elections. Whatever that has not been done, will be completed in five years,” he said.
Seeking to woo the Other Backward Classes (OBC) which account for 52 per cent of the state's population, Shah said the Congress did nothing for them but the Modi government constituted the OBC commission and ensured that they get constitutional rights.
“The Modi government provided reservation to OBCs in NEET examination. It provided 27 per cent quota to OBCs in admissions in Central schools, Sainik schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas. A venture capital fund was created for OBC business persons," he said.