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Buoyed by increasing minority support in NE, Modi now sets eyes on Kerala

March 03, 2023 00:09 IST

Buoyed by the Bharatiya Janata Party's performance in polls in three northeastern states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday set his sights on Kerala by citing increasing support of minorities for the party and slammed rivals saying they are wishing mar ja Modi but people have been chanting "mat ja Modi".

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the BJP members during a celebration function after the party's victory in the assembly polls in three northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland in New Delhi, March 2, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

With the BJP retaining power in Tripura on its own and in Nagaland with its senior ally and set to be part of the government in Meghalaya, Modi hit out at the Congress for its president Mallikarjun Kharge's attempt to play down his party's poor show in the polls by describing it as "small state elections".


"This is an insult to these states and their mandate," Modi said, adding that it underscores the Congress' vote bank politics in which the interests of the poor, Dalits and other deprived sections have been ignored. This mindset has harmed the country a lot and will sink the Congress, he said.

The results also underscore people's faith and optimism about democracy and democratic institutions in the country, he said and took a dig at rivals wondering if they have begun "abusing" the electronic voting machines.

"People of the region now know that they are no longer ignored. We have given the country a new politics and political culture. We believe in everyone's development without any discrimination. The country and its citizens come first for us," he told the cheering crowd.

The BJP's rivals and their ecosystem have repeatedly tried to paste one label or another against the party by associating it with particular groups like trading and middle classes, or regions but they have been busted over the time, the prime minister said at the party's headquarters here.

Tribals, Dalits and backward classes and regions are with the BJP now, he noted, highlighting that its rivals used to claim that the party does not get much support from some of them. Modi also said that the BJP works for all without any discrimination.

The prime minister's remarks aimed at minorities came days after his outreach to Pasmanda Muslims.

Another propaganda was spread in the country and abroad for years that minorities should be fearful of the BJP, he said.

The people of Goa have been exposing this "lie" against the BJP by repeatedly supporting the party in the state where Christians are in large numbers, and support for the BJP has been increasing now in the northeast region, he said.

He noted that Christians are in majority in Meghalaya and Nagaland, and their support for the BJP has been rising.

"As gradually the lies of our rivals is exposed, the BJP will expand... I am sure in the coming years, as it has happened in Meghalaya and Nagaland and has been happening in Goa, the BJP's alliance will form government in Kerala too," he said, blasting the Left and the Congress for their politics of deceit with their "friendship" in Tripura and rivalry in Kerala.

The Left and the Congress are the two main parties in the southern state.

The people of Kerala are watching the sham of these two parties' rivalry but the truth is now out that they are together in looting the state, the prime minister said.

The Left and the Congress had joined hands in Tripura to take on the BJP but were handed a crushing defeat in the state.

Muslims and Christians are in significant numbers in the southern state where the BJP has failed to make much headway so far.

Modi said, "It's a time for a new history and new era as peace, prosperity, stability and development flourishes in the northeast. When I visited the region recently, I was told that I had visited the northeast 50 times. By frequently going there, I won their heart. And, it's a big win for me."

Noting that polls in the region used to be discussed for violence and other bad incidents, he appreciated the extensive coverage the election results drew on Thursday. The region is now distant from neither 'Dilli' nor 'Dil' (heart), Modi said.

Attacking rivals and in a reference to some objectionable slogans raised by a few Congress members during a recent police action against party leader Pawan Khera, he said they wish to dig his grave, but the lotus (BJP's poll symbol) is blooming everywhere.

The prime minister said some people who are involved in "kattar" dishonesty wish him death by chanting "mar ja Modi" but people say 'mat ja Modi' (don't go away, Modi).

Taking a swipe at the party's rivals for being in pain as to how it keeps winning one election after another, Modi credited this to "triveni" of work and work culture of the party-run governments and its workers' commitment to serving people.

He said a political model existed in which difficult tasks are never handled and politicians thought about the easy way out to mislead people. It was said that statesmen think about the next generation and politicians about the next elections but a time has now come that politicians are only concerned about the next day's headlines and coming on televisions, Modi added.

The BJP has on the other hand put in a lot of hardwork to tackle difficult challenges, he said.

"After seven decades of independence, many villages of the northeast didn't have electricity. Previous governments knew that it was a difficult task to electrify those villages, and therefore, they turned a blind eye towards them," the prime minister said, highlighting the efforts to provide people there drinking water, infrastructure and housing facilities.

He also asked the audience to turn on the flashlights of their mobiles in a show of their affection and respect for the people of the northeast.

The results, he claimed, again showed the increasing support of women voters for the party as they have benefitted in large numbers from various welfare initiatives of its government, Modi said.

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