BJP national president Amit Shah on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party in Kashmir, blaming it for backwardness in the state.
Shah said the Congress survived by supporting regional parties like the National Conference and People's Democratic Party (PDP) and urged people not to vote for the two parties in order to ensure a Congress-free India.
"Each year hundreds of crores (of rupees) are released by the central governments but not a single penny has reached the deserving. The people in power instead filled their own coffers,'' Shah said.
The BJP leader asked people not to vote for the NC and PDP to teach them a lesson.
Shah was in the Kashmir Valley to address rallies in Srinagar and south Kashmir for party candidates in Amirakadal and Shopian constituencies.
The BJP chief hit out at chief minister Omar Abdullah saying his party leadership did not take enough care of people during the floods in September. "Modi government released Rs. 1700 crore for flood victims, Omar Abdullah should answer where all the money went,'' Shah said.
The BJP leader said 2014 would be a golden year as it was the year Narendra Modi came to power as PM and "also the year when people of the state will help form the first BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir".
Shah promised better roads, schools, hospitals, 24-hour electricity and more tourist inflow to the Valley once the BJP comes to power in the state.
"We want to make the place a tourist destination. We want that people instead of going to Switzerland should come to Kashmir,'' he said.
Asking the people to give BJP a chance, Shah said people of India wanted a change and they did so by using the power of their votes. He asked people of the Valley to give Modi a chance for change in the state as well. "Aap apne dil mein kamal khilaye aur kamal ka button dabayein (let the lotus (BJP symbol) bloom in your hearts and press the lotus on voting machines as well),'' he said.
Shah is the first BJP leader to address a rally in Shopian, the town which was the epicenter of the 2009 agitation over the alleged twin murder and rape in the area.
Amirakadal constituency in Srinagar, on the other hand, is the seat the party is eyeing owing to the considerable number of migrant Kashmiri Pandit votes. Hina Bhat, the BJP's Kashmir face, is taking on NC's Kashmir chief Nasir Aslam Wani here. Though Shah managed to pull crowds in Shopian, attendance was thin in Srinagar.
Shah's 'core team' arrived in Kashmir after the first phase of elections with the focus on party's ambitious 'Mission 44+'.
Sources said over 80 members of the team, including IT professionals, poll strategists, organisational members of different party wings, and other experts, were flown to Kashmir.