Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of neglecting farmers' plight and slammed the Samajwadi Party (SP) over women's safety in Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing rally at Baghpat in UP, he said that it was time for 'kamal (BJP's poll symbol lotus)' and 'Modi', exuding confidence about the BJP's win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which start on April 7.
He touched upon the rebellion of 1857 in his address at Baghpat, the region that played a key part in what many describe as India's first war of Independence.
"People then fought for 'swaraj' (self-rule) and a British-free India. Today, people have to fight for 'suraj' (good governance) and a Congress-free India."
The Gujarat chief minister also launched a scathing attack on the Congress over its manifesto for the summer elections, saying, "Congress only knows how to make pre-poll promises." Modi had earlier accused the Congress of making false promises in its manifesto.
Taking a dig at the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre, he said, "(Independent India's second PM) Lal Bahadur Shastri's slogan was 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan', the Congress government's slogan is 'Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan'...Farmers are forced to commit suicide during the UPA rule."
Modi also attacked the Congress for not doing enough for armymen and farmers.
"Today, those who safeguard the nation are not safe. Today, soldiers are being beheaded and their heads are taken away (by Pakistani Army)."
He expressed his displeasure at the Pakistan prime minister's visit to India after Indian soldiers were beheaded. "Why didn't the (Indian) prime minister tell his Pakistan counterpart that it was not the right time to visit India?"
Modi also turned the heat on the SP-led UP government. "Do you trust any of those in power in Delhi or Lucknow?" he asked at the rally. "UP will be benefitted only when dynasty politics comes to an end."
Citing lawlessness in the state, he said, "What kind of situation is this where our mothers and daughters do not feel safe?"
Modi's barb came a day after the news of a journalist being raped in the state's Mirzapur district surfaced. Addressing a rally in Lucknow last month, Modi had alleged "150 riot cases" were reported in UP under the Akhilesh Yadav-led government.
Modi stressed development in Gujarat — which has emerged as a disputed issue ahead of the general elections — and said, "If there is two minutes of power cut in Gujarat, that's news. But it's news in UP when power comes."
UP, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, is high on the BJP's agenda. The state will see the saffron party's PM nominee fighting from Varanasi on May 12, the last round of polling.
(With IANS inputs)