Mumbai: Dismissing opposition charges, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today ruled out splitting of Maharashtra and separating Mumbai from the state.
"Congress leaders have been spreading lies on cotton and onion for the last 10 years. They have started spreading a new lie. They say Maharashtra will be split. Has anyone been born in this country who can divide the land of Shivaji?" he said addressing a rally in the predominantly tribal Dhule district.
"I assure you that as long as I am in Delhi, no power in the world can split Maharashtra and also separate Mumbai from Maharashtra," he said.
The Prime Minister's remarks come against the backdrop of MNS chief Raj Thackeray reportedly accusing Modi of having a "hidden agenda" to split Mumbai from Maharashtra.
The Prime Minister said Maharashtra is the state that has the capability to drive India's growth and Mumbai is central to that. Slamming Congress for the farmers' suicide in the last 10 years, Modi urged the people to punish the "murderers" of farmers in the October 15 Assembly elections.
"Press on the lotus button on October 15 and make it the liberation day for the state from 15 years of Congress misrule," he said. In an apparent dig at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Modi said he does not need to go the house of a poor person to "snatch" his food for a photo opportunity as he himself came from a poor family.
"I had come amidst you during Lok Sabha campaign. I had requested you to trust me. You believed in what I said and elected BJP MPs from Dhule and Nandurbar," Modi said. "Now, I have come to you again in four months. Politicians forget to fulfil poll promises. But I am not a politician. I am your sevak. I am the first servant of India," the 64-year-old leader said. The Prime Minister said that when 60 months of "our regime will be complete, I will give account of every moment and every paisa.We made promises for development and we will keep them."
"Wait for October 15 (the polling day in Maharashtra). As soon as BJP government comes to power, we will rectify the damage done to cotton and onion growers due to the wrong policies of the erstwhile Congress and NCP government," he said.
"Unlike Congress, we are not the ones to make false promises," Modi said. Congress leaders won so many polls on the promise of completing work on the Manmad-Indore rail line but not a single inch of track was laid, he said. "Did they (Congress) do anything in 50 years? From panchayat to Parliament, they ruled but did not give any account of their 60-year rule," the senior BJP leader said. "They are such shameless people that they are instead asking me an account of my 60 days. Isn't this injustice?" he said. "Those who are on the verge of defeat, are bent on spreading canards," Modi said, attacking Congress and NCP.
"The Congress-NCP government destroyed an entire generation in Maharashtra in the last 15 years. No jobs to youth and no security to women, these are their deeds. Farmers committed suicide, despite their (Congress-NCP) being in power in the state and the Centre," he said. Shouldn't those responsible for deaths of farmers be punished? Will you punish them? Will you vote for lotus and wipe the corrupt? he asked the people.
"Congress nationalised banks over 40 years ago. Then, Congress leaders said the money in banks should be used for poor. But I want to ask my tribal and poor friends, have you seen a poor person in banks," Modi said.
"We have implemented the PM Jandhan Yojana so that the bank money should be used for poor," he stressed. "I don't have to snap photos in huts to show I care for the poor. I have come from amidst the poor," Modi said. "We have two doctor MPs (Dhule MP Dr Subhas Bhamre and Nandurbar MP Dr Heena Gavit) here, so the disease of poverty will go away," he told the crowd, beginning his speech in Marathi.