MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought a decisive mandate for BJP in the Maharashtra Assembly polls, saying the 15-year-rule of Congress and NCP have "destroyed" the state.
Modi, who started his whirlwind campaign tour in the state today by addressing rallies at Beed, Aurangabad and Mumbai, however never once mentioned BJP's former ally Shiv Sena.
"A generation has been destroyed with youth, farmers, women, tribals and backward classes not benefitting during the Congress-NCP rule," Modi said.
The Prime Minister took a swipe at his detractors saying that instead of seeking votes, they were competing to criticise him.
"They are forgetting that people taught them a lesson in the Lok Sabha polls," he said, adding they may face a similar fate in the assembly polls.
In Mumbai, Modi said the city had witnessed maximum terror attacks, and after Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra had seen the highest number of communal clashes.
Congress and NCP had failed to address the concerns of the youth who want development and want to rise above the politics of caste, creed and religion, he said.
Mumbai was "a mini-India" and whatever happens in the city is reflected elsewhere in the country, Modi said. "I want to take all sections of the society along and climb new heights of development," the Prime Minister said.
His government's maiden budget offered tax concessions for the middle class, enabling saving of Rs 35,000 per person every year, Modi said, while promising that slum dwellers would get homes of their own by 2022.
The key projects in and around Mumbai such as Navi Mumbai airport, Sea Link and Metro would be completed and inaugurated in his tenure itself, he assured.
The decision to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the railways will help strengthen suburban railway network in Mumbai, Modi said.
"Congress and NCP leaders were more concerned about their personal interests rather than development of the state and in the process destroyed a generation of youth, farmers, tribals and backward classes. Chief Ministerial ambitions of a few leaders were fulfilled but not that of the common man," Modi said in Beed.
Later, in Aurangabad, he made a strong pitch for a decisive mandate for his party, saying that the people now had an opportunity to rectify the shortcomings of the coalition politics.
"It was because of the strong mandate the people of the country gave me in the Lok Sabha elections that USA took notice of India. The credit goes to the 125 crore people who stood behind me. Similarly, Maharashtra needs to come on the global map for which you need to give support to BJP," he said.
"The coming elections are a chance to ensure that the state is freed of Congress. The 15-year-long rule of Congress-NCP has ruined the state," he said.
Modi stressed that for the first time in the last 30 years India had got a single-party majority government. Referring to his high-profile visit to USA, he said such a mandate facilitates good and speedy decision-making, and now the country was being hailed even globally.
"Even Maharashtra can achieve that distinction of global recognition.. For that you have to give a decisive mandate to BJP," he said.
"Gujarat progressed ahead of Maharashtra which was once known to give bread and butter to the people from various parts of the country and was an economic power centre. Who is responsible for all this?" he asked.
Saying that for his government do well at the national level Maharashtra's progress was necessary, he added, "Whatever I send from Delhi should be utilised properly. Will these people (Congress-NCP) allow it?
"They will not even share the stage with me," he said, referring to former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's refusal to attend a programme with Modi after he (Chavan) was heckled at Modi's rally in Solapur.
In Mumbai, Modi said that BJP government will construct a a new bridge linking it with the satellite town of Navi Mumbai, and also provide the city the best Metro facilities. "Dengue, Malaria and TB are the diseases that plague the poor people in our country the most.
I asked the US to help us in making effective vaccines for these diseases....The only thing on my mind even during the trip to the US was what benefits I could provide to the poor in India," he said.
In Aurangabad, the Prime Minister said the region had a great tourism potential because of the Ajanta Ellora caves, "but, Aurangabad's filth has to be cleared first to attract the tourists".
Maharashtra now ranks 12th in terms of literacy, sixth in employment generation and 15th in growth in the country, he said, blaming the Congress and NCP for this.
Highlighting his government's achievements at the Centre, the Prime Minister said that petrol and diesel prices and the inflation had come down since he took over.
The Jan Dhan accounts had swelled the government coffers by Rs 3,000 crore, Modi said.
He also noted that China had now allowed road travel for Indian visitors to the Kailash Mansarovar.