Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said Congress president Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala was not to give any message to south India, but a message for appeasement politics.
Canvassing votes for BJP candidates in Thiruvananthapuram at a rally Thursday night, he wanted to know why Mr Gandhi was not contesting from either Thiruvanathapuram or Pathanamthitta constituencies in the state.
Mr Gandhi has filed his nomination in Wayanad as a second seat in addition to his traditional constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh with the Congress saying it was a message to the southern states that they are deeply valued and respected.
The BJP has attacked Mr Gandhi saying he was afraid of losing in Amethi and had hence chosen a ''safe'' constituency "Congress naamdhaar says he came to Wayanad to give a message to South India. Could he not give a message from Thiruvananthapuram... the state capital or from Pathanamthitta where he could have given a bigger message. This message is not for south, but a message for appeasement politics," PM Modi charged.
Thiruvananthapuram and Pathnamthitta, where the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple is located, is witnessing a fierce triangular contest between the ruling CPI(M) headed LDF, opposition Congress led UDF and BJP-NDA candidate.
Addressing a large gathering who filled the central stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, PM Modi lashed out at the LDF government and said the Communists have problems with regard to "our rituals".
"They do not like poojas and rituals. We know that. They cannot crush our faith. Today, people here cannot even utter the name of their God, false cases are registered against them and they are hit with lathis," PM Modi said.
He was apparently referring to the Sabarimala women's entry issue which saw frenzied protests by devotees and others last year after the state government decided to implement the Supreme Court order allowing menstrual age women into the hill shrine, setting aside the traditional ban.
The Prime Minister, however, did not name Sabarimala or Lord Ayyappa in his entire speech.
"We will not allow them to destroy the culture and traditions followed since thousands of years. Even small children will stand as the chowkidars (watchman) to protect our culture," PM Modi said.
The Prime minister assured when BJP-NDA "is voted back to power on May 23", from "court to parliament" his government would fight for the faith of the believers.
"On this issue, BJP's stand is clear. But Congress is playing a dangerous double game. They are saying something in Delhi and another in Kerala," he said.
The Prime Minister also attacked the Congress and Communists and said both had ruled the state alternately and their ideology was "opportunism".
"In Kerala, Congress and Communists fight each other, but are together in Delhi. Keral me Kushti aur Dilli me Dosti. This is not politics, but self interest and complete opportunism," PM Modi said.
Attacking Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Left frot government, PM Modi alleged it was drowned in corruption.
"Even the Chief Minister is facing allegations on Lavlin (corruption case) matter. Other ministers are also facing corruption charges. They are even trying to loot money that came for the rehabilitation of flood victims," PM Modi charged.
He alleged that the devastating floods in Kerala last year was due to lapses of the government than a natural calamity.
"This government was so careless that it does not have the right to remain in power for a single moment," PM Modi said.
He alleged the Congress and the Communists were making fun of the Indian Army after the Balakot attack.
"This election is about the aspiration of new India," PM Modi said, adding that, all the first time voters have a great responsibility.
Kerala, which has 20 Lok Sabha seats, goes for single phase polling on April 23 with the BJP seeking to make inroads in the state and is contesting all seats.