Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Chhattisgarh, led by Chief Minister Raman Singh, would continue to work for the development of the state. The prime minister was speaking at a public rally in Jagdalpur in Bastar district.

Modi said the BJP government’s aim is to eliminate poverty and starvation from Bastar, which is the epicentre of Maoist insurgency, The earlier Congress governments trampled upon the dreams of the state’s tribals, he claimed.

“The ‘urban Maoists’ who live in air-conditioned homes in the cities, look clean and whose children study abroad, remote-control the adivasi children in the Naxal-dominated areas,” Modi said. “I want to ask the Congress why it supports the ‘urban Maoists’ when the government takes action against them and come to Bastar and speak against Naxalism,” he said.

Reiterating his government’s “sabka saath, sabka vikas” slogan, Modi claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party is an inclusive party that treats various castes and classes equally. He accused earlier governments of nepotism and embezzling public money, saying, “We have changed this and will work for development for everyone, irrespective of caste, class or connections.”

Modi accused the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre of attempting to obstruct development projects in the state for a decade. “Despite all their efforts, Raman Singh did not let Chhattisgarh’s development come to a halt,” he said. “The Congress only looks at the poor, the needy and the exploited classes as a vote-bank.”

Chhattisgarh’s 90 constituencies will vote on November 12 and November 20 and the results will be declared on December 11.

Rahul Gandhi takes on Modi and Raman Singh

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to the state, addressed a rally in Pakhanjore town of Kanker district, where he criticised the Narendra Modi government for its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes and for allowing loan defaulters to flee the country, News18 reported.

“All of you were standing in long queues during demonetisation, but not one black money holder was seen,” Gandhi said. “Also, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away from the country with your money.”

At a rally in Chief Minister Rama Singh’s constituency of Rajnandgaon, Gandhi said both the state government and the Centre have failed to fulfil their promises. “CM Raman Singh and PM Modi promised jobs but today nearly 60,000 teacher posts, 13,000 lecturer posts are vacant and 3,000 Aadivasi schools were shut down,” the Congress president claimed. “We will ensure that the govt vacancies are filled up.”