Four days ahead of the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reached out to tribals and announced he will go to the native village of their icon Birsa Munda on his birth anniversary and launch a welfare scheme for the community as he blasted the Congress was ignoring adivasis for 60 years.
Campaigning for the BJP for the November 17 polls, Modi assured the people of Madhya Pradesh that all promises made by the ruling party will be fulfilled if it retains power and advised them to be wary of the Congress, saying the opposition outfit can even promise to build a "castle of gold" to wins elections.
“After two days, Bhawan Birsa Munda's birth anniversary will fall (on November 15). We celebrate it as 'Janjatiya Gaurav Divas' (Tribal Pride Day). Tribesmen have played a big role in freedom struggle,” he said, addressing an election meeting in Barwani district which has a sizeable number of adivasis.
The Congress never cared for tribals, while the BJP stands for their respect and social justice, said Modi.
“I am going to the village of Bhagwan Birsa Munda in Jharkhand on November 15 where I will launch a welfare scheme for tribals. I am going to bow down there,” the PM stated.
Madhya Pradesh has the highest tribal population among all states. It has 47 assembly seats, out of the total 230, reserved for candidates from scheduled tribes. In the last assembly elections in MP, the BJP did not fare well in tribal reserved seats.
Official sources said in New Delhi the PM will launch a Rs 24,000 crore scheme aimed at holistic development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) on the occasion of 'Janjatiya Gaurav Divas' in Jharkhand.
The scheme -- PVTG Development Mission -- will be a huge step towards the empowerment of tribals, they said, adding this will be a first-of-its-kind initiative.
At the Barwani rally, Modi accused the Congress of ignoring tribals while in power.
“In 60 years after Independence, the Congress neither worked for tribal development nor accorded them respect,” he maintained.
Modi reminded the gathering that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, headed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had set up a separate ministry for tribal development.
“When a BJP government was formed at the Centre, our tribal brothers got their due respect, and a separate ministry for tribal welfare was created,” he said.
He maintained the indigenous people in Madhya Pradesh have benefited from the "double-engine" government (BJP in power in the state and also at the Centre).
Asking voters not be get carried away with the "false" promises of the opposition party, the PM said, “Wherever the Congress comes to power, crime rate reaches its peak, riots become commonplace and atrocities against sisters and daughters increase.”
The BJP's star campaigner said states governed by the Congress have flourished after the party has been removed from power.
“Wherever the Congress comes to power even prosperous states get ruined. After getting power, the Congress indulges in loot. The people of MP have to be vigilant,” he maintained.
Mentioning the 2022 killing of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur, Modi said, “Could we even imagine that in India we would ever hear a slogan like 'sar tan se juda' (a reference to beheading)? But this has happened in the land of braves - Rajasthan - under misrule of the Congress.”
Kanhaiya Lal, 48, was killed with a cleaver inside his shop on June 28, 2022. The assailants claimed they hacked Lal to death to avenge an alleged insult to Islam.
Rajasthan is going to the polls later this month.
He pointed out that the Grand Old Party had promised the sun and the moon to farmers, women, youths and state government employees of Himachal Pradesh, but they all were deceived after it won elections last year in the hill state.
Karnataka, where the Congress came to power in May this year, also went down the same path, Modi and added development has come to a standstill in the southern state.
"If the Congress can do this to a prosperous state like Karnataka what will they do to Madhya Pradesh?", the PM said, cautioning the people of the BJP-ruled state against the opposition party
Modi said the Congress can even promise to build a "castle of gold” to the people of Madhya Pradesh to win elections anyhow.
“The Congress had pushed MP into a “dark well”. The BJP has pulled it out The Congress only aims to fill its empty coffers after coming to power,” he stated.
“They will promise to give a palace of gold and then say they will extract gold from potatoes and then build it,” he remarked, taking a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's 2017 comment of making "gold from potatoes".
People can see in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan (both ruled by the Congress), how piles of notes earned through illegal means were coming out every day, Modi stated.
The PM said abuses hurled at him will be crushed by people's love for him.
“Money was stashed under beds. You love Modi, they (Congress) abuse me. Let them abuse, your love will crush their abuses,” he said, apparently referring to
ED's claim that a forensic analysis and a statement made by a 'cash courier' have led to allegations that Mahadev betting app promoters have paid Rs 508 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel.
Baghel has denied the claim.
The PM said the November 17 elections in Madhya Pradesh are not just a fight between the BJP and the Congress.
“These elections are about deciding the bright future of Madhya Pradesh,” he asserted.
The Prime Minister said no one trusts the words and promises of the Congress because of its track record in office.
"The Congress ruled from Panchayat to Parliament for 60 years, but it neither thought of welfare of tribals nor gave respect to them," he said.
The PM assured the people of Madhya Pradesh that all promises made by his party BJP to them will be fulfilled after the party retains power in the state.
“All promises made to you will be fulfilled. This is my guarantee,” Modi asserted.
He said the Centre's free ration scheme, which was started during the coronavirus pandemic and covers 80 crore poor people, will be extended for five years.
The scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, is ending next month.
Madhya Pradesh will have a single phase polling for its 230 seats and results will be announced on December 3.