The people of Tripura aspire to achieve new heights of glory and are in need of better employment opportunities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday at a rally in Sonamura town. The state will go to the polls on February 18.

“You have taught us [the slogan] ‘Chalo Paltai [Let’s change]’,” Modi told the crowd. The prime minister urged the people of the state to reject the government of Manik Sarkar and instead opt for “Hira [diamond]”. “The H in Hira stands for Highway, the I for I-way [digital connectivity], R for Roadway, and A for airway,” he said. The Bharatiya Janata Party, Modi said, stands for development and its aim is “transformation by transportation”.

He accused the ruling Communist Party of India government in the state of hiding scams and corruption behind their white kurtas and talk of bank accounts without much money. It was an indirect reference to Sarkar, who often receives attention for being India’s poorest chief minister.

“Why is it that people here do not get the minimum wages?” Modi asked. “The Communist government here has ruled the state for 25 years and ruined it.”

Scams such as Rose Valley chit fund have ruined the poor in Tripura, the prime minister said, and those responsible “must be brought to book”. He accused the current government of creating an atmosphere of fear and quelling dissent.