BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today accused the UPA government of ignoring Jharkhand, asking why it has remained poor and had no economic growth despite being endowed with rich natural resources.
Modi also slammed the Congress, saying it has become a "liability and burden" for the country and is in a crisis because it is cut off from the people.
"Why is Jharkhand is still poor and poverty is growing even if it has rich resources?" Modi asked and then gave the answer himself in a veiled attack on Congress: "I would say the party in whose hands the reins were in since Independence should reply."
The Gujarat Chief Minister was addressing the Vijay Sankalp rally amid tight security in Jharkand capital which saw a huge gathering. The stage had a backdrop of Parliament.
It was Modi's first public rally after a Gujarat Metropolitan Court dismissed Zakia Jafri's protest petition against Special Investigation Team's clean chit to him in the 2002 riots.
Modi said if a survey report was submitted to the leading economists of the world, they would certainly say that the state would have been among the most prosperous regions in the world, if the resources were properly utilised.
He said that the people of the region had been demanding a separate state for a long time to determine their own destiny, but the "sultanate" in Delhi did not hear and rejected the demand.
"It was former prime minister A B Vajpayee who understood the aspirations and dreams of the people of the region and created the state along with Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.
"The new state was created accepting that it will be 'progressive', but why has it not happened in 13 years?" Modi said, comparing the state with Chhattisgarh which, he said, had "sped away on the path of development".
He attributed Chhattisgarh's "success" to the people's desire for development and for the BJP.
Modi compared Jharkand to an adolescent and said it is entering a crucial period of 13 to 18 years in which the state needs a leader that will understand its need.
"Jharkhand will need Delhi. But can you trust those in Delhi who neglected the Jharkhand demand for 50 years?” he asked.
Wondering how coal-rich Jharkhand should fall behind in electricity generation, he asked why is the state in darkness.
Modi also urged the voters of Jharkhand to return all 14 seats in the state to the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections so that the state could hope for a brighter future.