Rebutting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's charge that minorities were feeling "insecure" in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today accused him of playing votebank politics.
"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," Mr Modi said, addressing a poll rally in Valsad 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," Mr 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," he 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 Bal Thackeray and who later shifted to Gujarat with her family, Mr 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."
Mr Modi also claimed that Dr. 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 the 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," Dr. 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 Mr Modi.