Rebutting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's charge that minorities were feeling "insecure" in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi Sunday accused him of playing votebank politics with the minority community.
"The Prime Minister, who visited Gujarat today, is playing votebank politics in the name of minority and majority (communities). It is sad that the Prime Minister of the country cannot rise above votebank politics," Modi said addressing a poll rally in this town in South Gujarat.
"The Prime Minister is saying that minorities feel insecure in Gujarat. With a sad heart, I have to explain to him that Gujarat does not distinguish between minority and majority and the state government is working for the uplift of six crore people of the state," Modi said.
"You (PM) get elected in Rajya Sabha from Assam. The entire country knows about the massacre that went on in your home state six months back. Districts after districts were engulfed in communal violence," Modi said.
However, in the last ten years there had been no communal violence in Gujarat, he claimed.
Giving an example of Shaheen Dhada, who was arrested in Maharashtra for her Facebook comments about late Bal Thackeray and who later shifted to Gujarat with her family, Modi said, "She prefers to stay in Gujarat over Maharashtra. You are trying to defame the state, but girls like Shaheen have proved you wrong."
Modi also claimed that Singh was trying to disturb the atmosphere of peace, unity and brotherhood through votebank politics.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister, while addressing a rally in Vansada in Navsari district, said that time had come to "liberate" Gujarat from divisive politics. "We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and few other segments of the society are feeling insecure in the state," Singh said.
"Time has come to liberate Gujarat from divisive politics and to not let those people come back to power, who have been trying to get votes by dividing our society and country," the Prime Minister had said without naming Modi.
Modi also accused the Prime Minister of indulging in vote bank politics.
"Prime Minister, at least you should have not gone down to play vote bank politics...It is politics of development that is expected from you," he said.
"Now compare what Sonia Gandhi had said two days ago with what the PM said today. Mrs Gandhi had said there is no development in Gujarat and the PM is saying that there is development in Gujarat, but its foundation was laid by the erstwhile Congress government," Modi said.
There is no consistency in what Congress leaders are saying about Gujarat, he said, adding that it was for the people to decide who was right.
On the issue of unemployment in Gujarat that the Prime Minister touched upon, Modi said, "PM says there are no employment opportunities in Gujarat. But records of his own government at the Centre say exactly opposite.
"Gujarat has the lowest unemployment rate per 1,000 and that has been certified by the Union Government," he said.