Raigarh | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the newly formed opposition front 'INDIA', saying it wants to destroy Sanatan Dharma and erase Bharat as well as its culture of thousands of years as he asked people to remain vigilant from them.
Addressing a 'Vijay Sankhnad' rally at Kondatarai village in Raigarh district of poll-bound Chhattisgarh, Modi also targeted the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in the state, saying it lagged behind in welfare of the poor, but was ahead in corruption.
He accused the Congress government of indulging in politics of scams and alleged it committed corruption in 'Godhna Nyay Yojna' (cow dung procurement scheme), liquor sale and irregularity in managing district mineral foundation (DMF) fund.
It was Modi's second visit to the state in the last two-and-a-half months and comes ahead of the year-end assembly polls in Chhattisgarh where the BJP lost power in 2018 after ruling for 15 consecutive years.
I want to make you aware about a conspiracy that is being hatched against our faith and the country. Those whom you kept away from the power for the last nine years (at the Centre) and those who are continuously losing elections are now filled with so much hatred against you that they are now targeting your identity and your culture," he said.
Referring to the national-level bloc of anti-BJP parties, the PM, said these people have come together and have formed an 'Indi' alliance.
This 'ghamandia' (arrogant) grouping of opposition parties wants to destroy Sanatan Dharma, he said in a sharp attack on the Indian National
Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), which was formed in June this year to take on the BJP-led NDA in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"In greed for power, these people now want to break the culture which has existed in India for thousands of years. Sanatan culture is the one in which Lord Ram calls Shabari as his mother and enjoys eating her half eaten ber (juthe ber)," said Modi, the BJP's star campaigner.
The PM said the age-old Sanatan culture is based on a person's karma (action) and not birth.
"Sanatan culture is the one wherein Ram considers forest dwellers and Nishad Raj greater than his brother. Sanatan culture is the one where Ram embraces the boatman rowing the boat. Sanatan culture is one which gives priority not to birth, but to a person's karma (action)," he said.
The PM's comments came in the wake of Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin's controversial statement comparing Sanatan Dharma with diseases like malaria and dengue, and calling for its "eradication".
He maintained Sanatan Dharma has always inspired stalwarts of the country.
"From Gandhiji to Swami Vivekananda, from Mata Ahilyabai Holkar to Mirabai, this Sanatan Dharma, Sanatan culture has been inspiring everyone. Opposition 'Indi' alliance wants to erase the culture of thousands of years and Bharat. The people of Chhattisgarh and the country should remain alert from them," he said.
Modi asked people to compare the track record of the Congress and said he has fulfilled guarantees he gave to people.
"For more than 50 years, the Congress gave the guarantee of eradicating poverty. Now also the Congress gives the same guarantee. Had the Congress done its work properly, then Modi need not have to work so hard now," he said in a sharp attack on the country's oldest political party which is a key constituent of the INDIA bloc.
Modi said his government had vowed to empower the poor of the country and better their lives.
"We have seen that in just five years, 13.5 crore people have come out of poverty. This happened because the BJP government launched welfare schemes in the interest of the poor," he added.
Hitting out at the Bhupesh Baghel government, Modi said it lagged behind in welfare and development of the poor, but marched ahead rapidly on the corruption front.
The Congress government in the state is not engaged in development work, but only in empty talks and making tall claims, said the Prime Minister.
The Congress has only indulged in politics of scams and made Chhattisgarh an "ATM" of the party, he alleged.
Hailing the previous BJP governments in the state (2003-2018), Modi said there was a time when Chhattisgarh was known only for Naxalite attacks and violence.
Today, Chhattisgarh is being recognised because of development work done by the previous BJP governments, said the PM.
He described Chhattisgarh as a powerhouse state that will drive the country's growth.
Chhattisgarh is like a powerhouse for development in the country. In the last 9 years, we worked for the multidimensional development of Chhattisgarh. Today, a new chapter is being written in the development of railways in the state, he said.
There is a festive atmosphere in the country these days, Modi said, referring to the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission and conclusion of the G20 summit in New Delhi under India's presidency.
During the G20 summit held last week, world leaders were impressed with India's efforts for development and welfare of the poor, he said.
Many leaders, who visited India for the G20 summit, were left impressed by development in India. Every state and region in the state is getting equal importance in development, Modi said.
He asked voters to elect the BJP to power in Chhattisgarh in the upcoming assembly elections.
"Today the world is exploring possibilities of investments in India. But the corrupt Congress government in Chhattisgarh acts as a hurdle in development works carried by the Centre. If this government continues in office, then the state will not benefit from such moves (investments)," said the PM.
For better employment opportunities for youths and attracting investments, people have to elect the BJP in the state, he said.
"The spirit with which Atal ji (former PM A B Vajpayee) had created Chhattisgarh (in year 2000), you have to give Modi an opportunity to make Chhattisgarh a developed state with the same spirit," he said.