Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off on Saturday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP’s) poll campaign in Assam, where elections are due along with four other states.
Modi held rallies at Tinsukia, Majuli and Bihpuria and he will be addressing crowds at Bokakhat and Jorhat later on Saturday. He will hold two rallies at Rangapara and Hailakandi on Sunday.
Among the states going to polls in the next few months, the BJP has good chances of breaking the Congress party’s dominance in Assam. The state polls will be held in two phases on April 4 and 11 to elect members of the 126 constituencies.
At Saturday’s rallies, Modi talked about his past as a humble chaiwallah (tea-seller) and played the development card to connect with a state in which 18% of its population comprises tea plantation workers, a major voting force in at least 30 of Assam’s assembly constituencies.
Watch | Highlights of PM Modi’s rally in Tinsukia district
Here are the top 5 quotes
1. Following on his ambitious development agenda for the country, PM Modi said: “I have three agendas: Development, fast development and all-round development.”
Modi’s BJP bagged a landlside victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the promises of development and ‘achche din’.
2. The PM also said his fight is not against chief minister Tarun Gogoi, but against poverty and under development of Assam. Gogoi recently said his fight was against Modi in this assembly.
“Soon Gogoi will turn 90 years, it is our culture to respect old and elderly people gives blessings to younger. He is my senior and in our culture, we bow down before elders to seek blessings... My fight is not against Gogoi but against poverty, corruption and destruction of Assam. I am not fighting against any individual. I do not intend to fight with Gogoi.”
3. Modi lambasted the Congress government for misrule in the state.
“Who is responsible for all this backwardness (in Assam)? The Congress ruled Assam for 15 years. It gave us a PM (Manmohan Singh) for 10 years but even he could not rescue the state from darkness.”
4. He said he wanted to see Assam’s tea workers smile.
“Assam holds a special place in my heart because her teas provided me with a livelihood. Assam’s teas have energised Indians but the condition of tea workers has not improved under this (Congress) government. We want to see them smile, and not just in advertisements.”
5. Modi assured the state that if given five years, the party would pull the state out of all its difficulties.
“You give me five years, you give Sarbananda (BJP’s CM candidate) five years and BJP and its allies will pull Assam out of its difficulty,” Modi said.
(With inputs from agencies)