TASGAON/KOLHAPUR: Targeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said he has done nothing for the people of Maharashtra as Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister and has none of the qualities of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji.
"I am amazed. Pawar was the Union Agriculture Minister. But in his Maharashtra, around 3,700 farmers commit suicide every year," Modi said.
"There is no chance of you (Pawar) getting Shivaji's qualities in your character.
"But as agriculture minister at the Centre, had you implemented Shivaji's water management techniques, farmers of Maharashtra would not have committed suicide," the Prime Minister said at Tasgaon in Sangli district of western Maharashtra, from where former state Home Minister R R Patil is NCP nominee.
Modi hit back at Pawar who had attacked the BJP saying that the people who had termed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj a 'looter' were invoking the warrior king to seek votes. "Stop challenging our 'Shiv bhakti'," Modi said.
"I want to ask Sharad Rao Pawar. You speak of Shivaji. It was the Vajpayee government which named Mumbai airport after Shivaji. You were Chief Minister but did not think of it. Even Victoria Terminus was named Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by Vajpayee government," Modi said addressing rallies on the second day of his campaigning for October 15 Maharashtra polls.
Modi also slammed the NCP chief for his comments about Shivaji "plundering" the treasury of Surat.
"Pawar's statement has hurt me deeply. You don't have the knowledge of history. Gujarat was part of Maharashtra prior to its formation in 1960. We have considered Maharashtra as big brother," he said.
At a recent rally, Pawar had said, "They never even celebrated Shiv Jayanti and suddenly they have realised the importance of Shivaji Maharaj. All this is for votes only.
"BJP is well aware that it would not be able to reach out to the masses using its so-called icons and that's why is using Shivaji Maharaj's name and seeking people's blessings."
Asking the people to banish for ever NCP and Congress from the state politics, Modi said, "These are the people who looted houses from Kargil widows, they stole jobs from the youth, they looted the happiness of the poor, they destroyed the hopes and aspirations of the people of Maharashtra.
"Be it Congress or NCP, they are all corrupt," Modi alleged and asked people to give a clear majority to BJP in Maharashtra.
He said the Congress had "discarded" Mahatama Gandhi and "one Gandhiji which they like and that is the one embossed on currency notes".
"Congress people think Modi has snatched Gandhiji. He is Mahatma and no one can snatch him. But it is a reality that Congress has discarded him," the BJP leader said.
"There is one Gandhiji which they like and that is the one embossed on currency notes. Their politics can't survive without that," he said.
Gandhiji had laid foundation of a charkha ashram at Kolhapur but Congress governments did not fulfil that work, Modi said. "We have to regain Maharashtra's pride by electing a BJP government. If Maharashtra forges ahead, India forges ahead," he said.
At another rally in Kolhapur, Modi said Pawar had realised that UPA government was a sinking ship and therefore had chosen to take the Rajya Sabha route, instead of contesting Lok Sabha polls.
"Pawar is a clever politician. He knows how to flee a sinking ship. Now also, he knows the ship is sinking," he said.
"Congress did not give account of its 60 years' rule but wants account of my 60 days in office," the PM said.
"I am ready to give account of every minute and paisa, but to the people, as I am bound to them," he said.
"Congress people ask what has Modi done? Modi has done nothing. It is the 125 crore people who have done it," he said.
"I was in the US recently and I heard NCP and Congress leaders saying what work does Modi have in Maharashtra," he said.
"This huge crowd is the reason they are frustrated," the 64-year-old BJP leader said.
The earlier Congress-NCP led state government indulged in corruption even in midday meal scheme for children, he alleged.
He said the previous Congress governments at the Centre, of which Pawar was a part, stalled Narmada project for years.
"If NCP and Congress are decimated, then be rest assured that BJP government will come with full majority and will bring out Maharashtra from the morass of corruption," he said addressing the people.
"BJP's mantra is 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'. We are against discrimination of any kind. We will take everyone together on the path of development," he said.
"To those who question us for lack of the big vision, I say that I am a small man and think of doing big things for the common man," the senior BJP leader said.
Modi said his government decided to increase the pension amount to a minimum Rs 1,000 and and 32 lakh families have benefited from it.
"To those who want to know what the source of my energy is, I want to say, you (people) are my energy. Your blessings drive me," he said.
Referring to the famous footwear of Kolhapur, Modi said, "The entire nation needs Kolhapuri chappals so that the country can move at a fast pace."
Offering tributes to the local deity in his speech, he said, "I pray to goddess Mahalaxmi to shower so much laxmi on India that it comes out of all troubles."
The Prime Minister also recalled the social reforms done by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur and sought his blessings. He also lauded queen Tarabai of Kolhapur, calling her a braveheart.