Imphal: At two rallies in Manipur and Assam today, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and accused him of not doing enough for the development of the North-East region. Mr Modi said Dr Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, has done "nothing" for the region despite representing it for the last 22 years.
"The PM represents this region in the Rajya Sabha for the last 22 years, yet he has done nothing for its development," he said in Imphal and alleged that the policies of the Central government "have ignored the North-East."
"India has given 60 years to the Congress. These 60 years have been ruined," he told the crowd and vowed that if the BJP comes to power at the Centre, "it will bring this region on par with other regions of India."
Calling the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania a "national shame", he added, "I hope the Government of India and the Government of Delhi come out of the blame game and work towards ensuring justice for the young boy and his family." (In speech against discrimination, Sushma Swaraj's inadvertent slur)
Mr Modi also wooed the audience with a promise to provide better job opportunities. "I don't understand why the North-East can't be an IT hub? Why do people from here have to go to Bangalore and Hyderabad?" he said and alleged that the UPA government has neither the right leadership, nor the will to develop the North-East. "Na neta hain, na neeti hain, na neeyat hain (There are no good leaders (in the UPA), no policies and no intention (to do good work)," he said.
At another rally in Guwahati two hours later, he reiterated his attack on the ruling UPA government and the PM and claimed that Assam was the least developed of all the north-eastern states. "If the PM can't do anything for his constituency, then what will he do for the country?" he added.
Mr Modi also added that unlike the UPA, the NDA had taken the initiative of creating a separate ministry for the north-eastern region.
Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, died last week allegedly after being beaten by shopkeepers at a South Delhi market. At a rally in Uttar Pradesh last week, Mr Modi had attacked Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for his death and had added, "In Delhi, a student from Arunachal Pradesh was killed under the nose of Sonia Gandhi... It is shameful."