BJP's Amit Shah addresses a rally in Chhattisgarh after releasing the party's manifesto
The Raman Singh government in Chhattisgarh has made the state "almost free" of Maoists and developed it as a hub of power and cement production, BJP president Amit Shah said today as he released the party's manifesto for the state where the BJP has been in power for three terms.
He said a party that depends on Maoism as a medium for revolution will not succeed. "Those who think Maoism is revolution, they can never work for Chhattisgarh," Mr Shah said, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the opposition and the people who identify with the opposition's ideology as "urban Naxals" who live a lavish life, yet "come here" to mislead the youth of Chhattisgarh.
The people of Chhattisgarh will vote in two phases on November 12 and 20.
"The BJP government under Chief Minister Raman Singh has contained Maoism and made the state almost free of it," Mr Shah said, adding he is confident that the BJP would come to power in Chhattisgarh for the fourth straight time.
Earlier known as a state where basic amenities, education and infrastructure were in shambles, Chhattisgarh is now a "power and cement production hub", Mr Shah said, and congratulated the Raman Singh government for launching practical welfare measures.
"Taking on the Congress's propaganda and working tirelessly for the state's development for the last 15 years is a big challenge. I am confident that the BJP will win a straight fourth term in office," Mr Shah said.
The Congress, reacting to PM Modi's remarks, tweeted: "Dear PM Modi, it wasn't the so-called 'Urban Naxals' that set fire to the homes & villages of Adivasi's in Chhattisgarh & it definitely wasn't the 'Urban Naxals' that covered up the horrific crimes to protect the BJP govt. in the state."
The BJP is banking on PM Modi's overall pull and election-winning formula that have worked in some states like Assam to retain the heartland state rich in natural resources and where Maoists are active in some pockets.
The Congress campaign is also trying to swing voters in its favour by promising to keep farmers happy and not letting unchecked development bulldoze the interest of fragile communities.
The election authorities have gone on an overdrive to raise awareness among villagers and forest-dwellers about voting in Chhattisgarh's interior areas where the Maoist threat is high.
The intensity of the awareness campaign is such that at some places, banners of the Election Commission asking people to celebrate 'vote pandum' or 'festival of vote' in the local Gondi language, outnumber and outsize the posters of political parties, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
Security is a big challenge in the state. Dantewada senior police officer Abhishek Pallav said though adequate force has been deployed, the threat of improvised explosive device (IED) and pressure bombs, which are at times hard to detect, is quite high.
With inputs from PTI