Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for saying youth will “beat him with sticks” for the lack of jobs. Speaking in Assam at an event to celebrate the signing of the Bodo settlement agreement, Modi said that despite such remarks against him, he would be saved by the blessings of the mothers of India.

This is the prime minister’s first visit to the state since protests erupted against the Citizenship Amendment Act. His summit with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, in December in Guwahati was cancelled because of the protests, and he skipped the inauguration of the third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati on January 10. Six people were killed during the demonstrations against the amended law in the state.

Addressing the rally in Kokrajhar town, Modi said: “Some leaders talk about beating me with sticks, but I’m saved by the blessings of all the mothers of India.”

At an election rally in Delhi on Thursday, Gandhi had criticised the government for failing to rein in unemployment, and said that in six months’ time, the prime minister would be unable to step out of his house “as the youth would beat him with sticks”.

The Lok Sabha was also adjourned twice on Friday after Bharatiya Janata Party members vociferously protested against Gandhi’s comments.

Modi also said the Bodo accord signed by the Centre and rebel groups last month was the beginning of a bright future. “I am here to instil a new belief in the people of Assam,” he said. “Never have I seen such a large gathering...This is perhaps the largest ever political rally since Independence.”

The Centre and the Assam government on January 27 signed an accord with banned insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland. The government promised to fulfil the outfit’s key political and economic demands, including safeguarding the Bodo language and culture.