Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday blamed the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh government for the suspected Maoist attack that killed Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bheema Mandavi and four others in Dantewada district on April 9. “It is unfortunate that the attack took place in an area where presence of Naxals had reduced,” said Modi during a rally in Korba. “Question is why did the attack happen?”

“When I came here during Assembly elections, I had brought the statements of Congress leaders to your attention,” said Modi. “Congress was calling Naxals as revolutionaries. Today, incidents happening here are because of encouragement to Naxals by Congress.”

He blamed the Congress for siding with Maoists and people who wanted to divide India. “Does the Congress ‘hand’ favour development or destruction?” asked the prime minister. He said the Congress is pushing the country towards violence and destruction, and added that the Congress’ manifesto is a testimony of that.

Modi said the state government was not letting PM Kisan Yojana’s benefit reach the farmers. “PM Kisan Yojana aims to ensure that Chhattisgarh’s 35 lakh farmer families get benefited from the scheme,” said Modi. “But the state government has not taken steps to provide us with a proper list of farmers.” He said Chhattisgarh has choose what it wants – landmines or electric connections.

Modi once again criticised the Congress for proposing to abolish the sedition law and review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. He said the Congress cannot understand the needs of the country as it is busy taking care of only one family.

He also said Congress President Rahul Gandhi had labelled all Modis as thieves. “There is a namdaar who said recently that all Modis are thieves,” he said. “Those of you here who are named ‘Sahoo’, if you went to Gujarat, you would be called ‘Modi’. So tell me, are you all thieves? Should we believe that we are all thieves? Are you going to let this go without giving an apt reply to those who say things like this?”

In Bhatapara, Modi claimed that the strength of “one vote” of the people had made it possible for the government to carry out surgical strikes across the border, and the Indian Air Force strike in Balakot in Pakistan, PTI reported.

The Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.