During an election campaign in Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday drew a football analogy and said that the people of Assam have shown the "red card" to the Congress-led Grand Alliance in the state.
PM Modi also accused the previous Congress governments in the state of being a mute spectator to unbridled violence in the areas dominated by Bodo organizations.
"Football is a popular sport among the youths of Assam, and to use their parlance, the people of Assam have shown the Congress-led alliance the red card," he said addressing an election rally at Kokrajhar.
“People of Assam have bestowed their blessings on the NDA in the first phase of assembly poll and the voting that is going for the second phase today is also encouraging”, he said.
He alleged the Congress governments in the state and at the Centre did nothing for decades to check violence in the Bodoland areas.
"In the long years of its rule, the Congress threw Bodoland into bomb, bandook (gun) and blockade culture. In 2016, we had come to you with the promise of peace and development. During the last five years, we made sincere efforts and gifted Bodoland peace and respect," he said.
It was under former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the first Bodo Accord was signed and the present NDA government has paved the way for permanent peace by sealing the historic Bodoland Accord, leading to progress and development of the region, he said.
"Our mantra for the BTR is peace, progress and protection, and we have initiated the development of the region by bringing in projects to the tune of thousands of crore of rupees," the prime minister said.
Thousands of militant youth have surrendered with their arms and the NDA is committed to their rehabilitation, he said.
"I also appeal to those who have not returned to the social mainstream so far to come back and join the process of peace and development," he said.
Targeting the Congress over its alliance with Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal's AIUDF, Modi said the main opposition party had surrendered before "tala-chabhi wale". Padlock and key are the election symbol of the AIUDF.
"Congress was responsible for the violence in BTR and did nothing to resolve it. Mothers and sisters living in BTR have not forgotten those dark days of violence and killing.
"Now look at their (Congress's) audacity--they are joining hands with those whose support they needed earlier for their vote-bank politics...they are now forming an alliance of lies with them and dreaming to form the government. Congress has surrendered to these forces in its lust for power," he added.
Referring to a video in which Badruddin Ajmal was seen throwing the traditional 'gamosa' (stole) on the stage at an election rally, the prime minister said, "The images have hurt people and made them angry. They will not tolerate this insult to Assam's symbol of identity and the labour of its sisters. People will give an appropriate answer through ballots."
"The Congress and its alliance will be punished for it. We will never allow them to loot the hard-earned peace," he asserted.
Several top BJP leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah have accused Ajmal and his party of encouraging illegal immigration from Bangladesh, a hugely contentious and divisive issue in the northeastern state.
The Congress will go to any extent to tell lies and spread rumours but the people of BTR must be very careful, he said.
People should remember that the NDA is committed to safeguarding and strengthening the Bodo society through peace and development, and make its candidates victorious in the same way they did in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls in December last year, the prime minister said.
"This election is between the 'Mahajhooth' (grand lies) of the 'Mahajhot' (grand alliance) and the NDA's double-engine 'Mahavikas' (grand development," he asserted.
He alleged that while the Congress betrayed every community in the state, the NDA government worked for the welfare of all like the Koch, Rajbongshis, Moran, Muttocks and Chutiya.
The NDA is committed to protecting and honouring the traditions, language, culture and the identity of each community, he said.
He alleged that the Congress had allowed encroachment of land of the 'sattras' (Vaishnavite monasteries) and 'namghars' (prayer halls) by illegal immigrants but the state's NDA government got them freed.
Accusing the Congress of creating a divide between the people of Brahmaputra and Barak Valley, of the plains and hills, Modi said, the NDA government worked hard to create a strong bond between them.
(With inputs from PTI)