Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hit back at the BJP for accusing the Congress of being anti-Hindu, saying it was a measure of the "fear and uncertain future" faced by the saffron party.
Singh, who arrived here for poll campaigning, took the BJP head on and said it was "not a good sign" for any political party to divide the country on communal lines.
Addressing a press conference, Singh rejected the charge of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that the Congress was anti-Hindu.
"Congress has a history of 120 years. The Congress party is a gift of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhai Patel. I think to accuse the Congress of any communal bias is an insult to the memory of our freedom struggle," he said.
He said the fact that "somebody is now trying to paint the Congress party in wrong colours is a measure of the fear and the uncertain future that faces them."
"This is a sign of weakness and not a sign of strength," Singh said and emphasised that "it is not a good sign for any political party to divide our country on communal lines."
To a question if the Congress would order a fresh probe into the post-Godhra riots and the fake encounter case, he said "I can't comment on these cases as all are at various stages of investigation.
"Many of them are in courts. It would not be possible for me to comment on them. But I would say that every effort would be made to restore our people's confidence in the rule of law...."
He said if the Congress came to power "all people will have a feeling that the government belongs to them and that the government is there to protect their rights and liberties of each section of our community regardless of their political affilitation."
The Prime Minister also rejected Modi's allegation that Gujarat is being discriminated against by the UPA government at the Centre.
"This is totally false that Gujarat is being neglected. Gujarat is the beneficiary of the accelerated process of development that we have launched," Singh said.
Observing that the UPA government has laid a major emphasis on infrastructure, he said "if you look at the highways, airports, if you look at the seaports, I think Gujarat is getting its due share and it may continue to get its due share."
He said the biggest beneficiaries of some of the programmes of the UPA government are non-Congress ruled states and cited the examples of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in this regard. MORE
Singh also accused the BJP government in the state with seeking to divide the people on narrow grounds and said such an attitude could be a handicap for the state to move forward.
Emphasising that the UPA government has treated all the states with the same yardstick, Singh said "I, therefore, repudiate the charge that Gujarat is being discriminated against.
"Gujarat is an equal beneficiary of the development wave that is now sweeping all over the country," the Prime Minister asserted. Singh said the Narendra Modi Government was making false promises and announcing big projects. The time has come to effect a change in Gujarat, he said.
"Those who mislead you and resort to lies (`jhoote log') should be removed," Singh said, adding the people had power in them to bring about a change.
The PM said Congress' ties with the people here go back to several decades and it was time they were revived. Singh said "help us to effect a change, vote for the Congress to bring in a change for a better future of Gujarat," which he described as a historic state.
The PM's election rally comes four days ahead of the first phase of Assembly polls on December 11, when 87 constituencies will vote. The second phase, covering the remaining 95 seats, will be held on December 16.