Narendra Modi the chaiwallah on Saturday played up his childhood connection with Assam tea, while tearing into Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for failing the state that has been sending him to Parliament since 1991.
Singh has been representing Assam as a Rajya Sabha member since 1991.
"The PM has been representing the state for 23 years. It is a huge investment that has yielded no returns. If the condition of Assam, the PM's home state, is so bad, what can we say about the country?" Modi said, addressing a huge gathering in Guwahati.
"Resources-rich Assam energises India every day with her tea, the beverage that I once brewed for a living. But the state is one of India's most impoverished and is scarred by violence and bloodshed," he said.
Khanapara, the BJP's Mahajagaran rally venue, almost adjoins the hillock on which Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has his official residence.
Modi often alluded to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's love for the north-east to seek the region's support.
"The Congress disrespected your faith while Atalji focussed on the development and security the north-east deserves. And it was Atalji who gave Gopinath Bordoloi his due by conferring on him Bharat Ratna 50 years after independence," he said.
The Gujarat chief minister also took the Bordoloi route to justify the erection of Vallabbhai Patel's statue. As Assam's first chief minister, Bordoloi was responsible for opposing a plan to make Assam a part of Pakistan during partition.
"Bordoloi and Patel worked hand in hand to protect India's integrity. Yet, the Congress viewed them as mere party leaders and denied them the honour they deserved," Modi said, adding the people have a choice between "Congress' hollow promises and BJP's honest intentions".
"Give us 60 months just as you gave 60 years to the Congress and we will ensure the north-east is developed on a par with the rest of the country," he said.
Earlier in Manipur capital Imphal, Modi wooed the region with promise of better job opportunities so that the youth might not have to leave home to earn a living in the metros.
"UPA has no neta, neeti, neeyat
(leader, policy, intention) to develop the north-east," he said.
Decrying racism, he called the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania in New Delhi a "national shame" and advised the UPA to do justice instead of indulging in blame game.
Modi, whose reign was marked by alleged fake encounters such as the Ishrat Jahan case, ironically attributed insurgency in the north-east to fake encounters that have "also not spared pregnant women".