Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday targeted Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front over the gold smuggling scam, saying the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led government "betrayed" the people of the state just as Judas did to Jesus for a few pieces of silver.
He also slammed the LDF government on the manner in which it dealt with the agitation against the decision to implement a Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women in all age groups into Sabarimala temple, saying the Left dispensation should be ashamed of showering lathis on innocent devotees.
"About LDF it can be said: Judas. Judas betrayed Lord Christ for a few pieces of silver.LDF has betrayed Kerala for a few pieces of gold," the PM said while attacking the Left government on the gold smuggling case allegedly involving the former principal secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Modi sought to link the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot in exchange for money to the Kerala gold smuggling case in the poll rally held during the Holy Week being observed by the Christian community.
During Holy Week, Christians recall the events leading up to Jesus death by crucifixion, his betrayal by Judas during the week in exchange for money, and, according to their faith, Jesus' Resurrection.
Judas was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.
Addressing his first election rally in Palakkad where 'Metroman' E Sreedharan is contesting as the BJP candidate, Modi also flayed the Congress-led United Democratic Front over corruption, saying during its rule, the then government did not even spare the rays of sun, a reference to the solar panel scam when senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy was chief minister in 2013.
The veteran BJP leader claimed that the politics of the southern state was seeing a major shift driven by aspirations of the youth who have questioned the 'match-fixing' politics of the LDF and the opposition UDF.
"Over the last few years, the politics of Kerala is seeing a major shift. This shift is being driven by the aspirations of the youth, especially the first time voter in the state."
"For many years, the worst kept secret of Kerala politics was the friendly agreement of UDF and LDF. Now, the first time voters of Kerala are asking -- what is this match fixing?" Modi said.
He said these voters were disappointed with the LDF and UDF, claiming that for many years the politics in Kerala had been friendly agreement between two friends.
"Five years one loots, five years the other loots. People are seeing how the UDF and LDF misled the people," Modi said as he expressed hope that the chain of alternating power between two fronts will be broken this time.
Hitting out at the UDF and LDF, he said the fronts raise corruption allegations against each other during the time of election but "after coming to power, they never act on it."
"Their behind the scene games are now exposed," he said.
Modi also criticised the alleged vote bank politics being practiced by the LDF and the UDF, describing it as a "super disease".
"UDF and LDF are masters of vote bank politics... it is clear that the UDF and the LDF have two aims--further vote bank politics, fill pockets," Modi said, asking people to reject this type of politics.
Attacking both the fronts on the Sabarimala temple issue, Modi said, "LDF government should be ashamed of showering Lathis on innocent devotees.UDF should be ashamed of remaining silent when this was happening."
"I am proud to belong to a party that has, is and will always defend the culture of our land. I want to tell the LDF and UDF: If you abuse our culture, we will not be mute spectators," he said, referring to the agitation led by party state unit chief K Surendran to protect faith in the state.
"Our state unit president Surendran Ji was arrested and ill-treated by the Kerala government. What was his crime? That he spoke for Kerala's traditions?" Modi asked.
Taking on the Left parties on political violence in the state, Modi said they have been in power many times in Kerala but their leaders still behave like junior level goons or party leaders.
"Under their eyes and with their blessings, political rivals are killed, hacked, beaten," Modi said.
He promised that if voted to power, the BJP government will stop the culture of violence in the southern state.
"In a democracy we can have political differences. But, violence is not acceptable. So many of our young BJP karyakartas have lost their lives. A BJP government in Kerala will stop this culture of violence," Modi said.
The prime minister hailed Sreedharan's decision to join politics and fight elections as BJP candidate.
He said people from all walks of life were able to connect with the BJP's vision for India's growth and the candidature of "Metroman" from Palakkad constituency is a great example for that.
“Everyone wants well connected educated people to enter politics. But thanks to Metroman Sreedharan-ji.I am seeing something for the first time... a man who has done excellent work to make India modern and improve connectivity, a man admired by all sections of society, has devoted himself to Kerala's progress," Modi said.
The prime minister said if Sreedharan wanted only power, he would have got it 20 years ago.
"Yet as a true son of Kerala, he thought beyond power. He knew he will be attacked but stayed firm on his commitment for Kerala," Modi said.
The prime minister alleged the high number of "road-blocks" by UDF and LDF has made speed of development slower. "That is why, the time has come for FAST development in Kerala, which BJP promises. By FAST, what I mean is: F for Fisheries and Fertilizers. A for Agriculture and Ayurveda. S for Skill development and Social justice. T for Tourism and Technology," Modi said.
Earlier, addressing the rally, Sreedharan said he has drawn up a master plan for Palakkad which includes 24-hour water supply, efficient solid waste management scheme and green cover for the area by planting 25 lakh trees in the next five years.