JALGAON: Slamming successive Congress-NCP governments in Maharashtra for being steeped in "corruption", Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said time has come to wash away its "sins of 15 years".
"15th October is the festival of washing away the sins of the 15 years of Congress-NCP governments, to bring an end to 15 years of corruption and destruction," he said addressing a rally at Erandol in Jalgaon district.
"The governments in Maharashtra did not spare anything and anybody from corruption. They snatched away the food from the platters of children who were supposed to get it under the mid-day meal scheme, they left the farms thirsty and took away electricity meant for farmers," he said.
Modi said years of neglect by the state government had led to large-scale migration of the youth from villages to large cities and towns in search of jobs.
"I know what poverty is, the pain one feels when one does not have money to buy medicine for an ailing mother...I want that the youth does not have to leave their old parents, their villages, their farms behind and go looking for jobs in cities," he said.
"My government is committed to people, to doing big things for small people," he said amid loud cries of "Modi! Modi!" from a responsive crowd.
He slammed the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government for dragging its feet in completing the Sardar Sarovar dam project, resulting in denial of electricity worth Rs 400 crore every year to Maharashtra that it would have got free of cost.
"Since 2004, they (Centre) did not allow us to put even a bag of cement on the dam. Today, the work has started on construction of a hydel power project at Sardar Sarovar dam which would let Maharashtra avail of Rs 400 crore worth of electricity free of cost every year," he said.
"Had the work on the project been completed 10 years ago, Maharashtra would have got electricity worth Rs 4000 crore by now. What they could not do in 15 years, I did within 15 days of becoming Prime Minister," Modi said.
He said a lie was being spread that BJP, if voted to power, will split Maharashtra.
"You don't know the strength of the people of Maharashtra. No power can divide Maharashtra and take away Mumbai from it," he said.
Though he targeted Congress for spreading the lie, BJP's former ally Shiv Sena has been most vocal about the party wanting to divide the state by creating Vidarbha. BJP has been supportive of the demand for a separate Vidarbha state, which the Sena has stoutly opposed over the years.
Modi has said he would not attack Shiv Sena during the election campaign.
"Political pundits are saying why is Modi not criticising Shiv Sena in his speeches (during poll campaign). This is the first election in absence of late Bal Thackeray, for whom I have great respect. I have decided not to utter a single word against Shiv Sena. This is my tribute to Balasaheb Thackeray," Modi had said at a poll rally at Tasgaon in Sangli district on Sunday.