PARALAKHEMUNDI/ UMERKOTE (Odisha): BJP president Amit Shah Monday slammed the Congress for "compromising" with the national security by allowing the "real culprits" in the Samjhauta Express blast case go scot-free and accused the grand old party of trying to "defame" Hindus by tagging them with terror.
Shah also asserted that only the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership is capable of providing a strong and decisive government which can keep the country's frontiers safe and crush terrorism.
With the Odisha Assembly polls being held simultaneously with the general election, the BJP chief attacked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, comparing his government with a "fused" transformer and called upon people to replace it with an efficient one by voting the BJP to power in the state.
"Rahul (Gandhi) Baba's party attempted to link the Hindu community with terrorism. It was a bid to defame Hindus everywhere," Shah said.
The BJP chief, who was on a day's visit to Odisha, addressed two election rallies of the saffron party at Paralakhemundi under the Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency and Umerkote in Nabarangpur Parliamentary segment, which will go to polls in the first phase on April 11.
Mounting a scathing attack on the Congress, the BJP chief said all the accused, including Swami Aseemanand, were recently acquitted in the Samjhauta Express blast case.
Sixty-eight people, mostly Pakistanis, were killed in a terror attack on Samjhauta Express in February, 2007.
"Unfortunately, the then Congress government compromised with the national security by allowing the real culprits in the case to go scot-free. These people have no concern for the national security," Shah said.
The BJP chief also slammed the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal, accusing them of stalling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill from being passed in Parliament.
"I want to tell Naveen Babu and Mamata Didi that they tried their best to stall it, but Narendra Modi will again become prime minister and next time the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will certainly be passed for the benefit of many refugees," he said.
Shah assured all Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Bengali-speaking refugees that the BJP, after coming to power again by winning the coming polls, will provide them Indian citizenship by getting the bill passed in Parliament.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha on last working day in February and will get lapsed with the end of term of this Lok Sabha on June 3.
Mounting a stinging attack on the Congress, Shah accused it of "failing" to contain Pakistan-backed terrorism when it was in power, while the Modi government has been taking resolute action against terrorism.
Asking whether the country's frontiers need to be kept safe and secure, the BJP chief said after the Pulwama attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, killing 40 CRPF personnel, the Modi government took a prompt decision to take revenge by undertaking Balakot air strike.
Even as Pakistan was gearing up with its weapons and soldiers near the border, India gave a befitting reply "as it was Modi, who is at the helm and not 'mouni baba' (Manmohan Singh)", he said.
"Effective air strike was carried out and terror camps inside Pakistan were destroyed. Such decisive action can only be taken by BJP government," he said, adding that opposition parties, on the other hand, are speaking the language of Pakistan which gives strength to terrorists.
Taking a swipe at Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress chief "bowed his head" after the successful Balakot operations as he was "unable to digest our victory".
Describing Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda as Gandhi's "guru", Shah said Pitroda suggested for talks with Pakistan and terrorists.
"Pitrodaji, this (talks) may be the policy of your party. But, our policy is to retaliate and fire back with force when terrorists strike. If terrorists fire bullets we retaliate by using bombs. None other than Modi can ensure so much importance to national security," he said.
Turning to Odisha, Shah mounted a scathing attack on Patnaik accusing him of being unable to speak Odia language despite being in power for 19 years.
"Time has come for people of the state to choose an Odia speaking and young chief minister who can steer the state on the path of rapid progress," he said.
Alleging that corruption was all pervasive in Odisha and unemployment was growing "alarmingly", Shah said people of the state must oust the BJD from power and also vote in order to ensure a second term for Modi as prime minister.
Stating that 2019 elections will change the fate of the country as well as that of Odisha, Shah said people of the state should bring a "double engine" government by ensuring victory of the BJP both at the Centre and in the state so that speedy development can be experienced.
"BJD govt adopted a step-motherly approach towards west and central Odisha, for which these parts remained backward. People of the state need to overthrow current dispensation and ensure a second term for Narendra Modi as PM," he said.
The assembly and the Lok Sabha polls in the state will be held simultaneously in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.
The BJP has set a target of winning at least 120 of the 147 assembly seats in Odisha.
In 2014, the BJP had won 10 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat.