Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday accused the Congress and the TMC of being sympathisers of Pakistan who wanted to "break the morale" of India's security forces and make them "helpless" in the fight against terror.
Kicking off his campaign for the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal with rallies in Siliguri and Kolkata, Modi also trained his guns on TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, calling her the "speed breaker" in the path of the state's development who wanted poverty to stay so her "politics of poverty" can flourish.
Attacking the Congress, the prime minister said the actual age of democracy in India was barely 15-16 years as "family rule stifled talent and spread the poison of casteism" in society.
"I saw this sham manifesto (dhakosla patra) released by the Congress. It is meant to break the morale of our security forces.
"It promises removing AFSPA from disturbed areas like Kashmir. This is an attempt to render our brave soldiers helpless in the fight against terror, have their hands and feet tied," Modi told an election rally in the north Bengal town of Siliguri.
He accused the Congress of being "soft" on terror because of its "appeasement" politics, which was reflected in its governments scrapping tough anti-terror laws like TADA and POTA.
"We too scrapped over 1,400 obsolete laws from statute books. We have also withdrawn the AFSPA from some areas after peace returned there. The Congress's election promise will help those peddling terror from Pakistan," he said in Kolkata, accusing the Congress party of "playing with national security and trying to destabilise the country".
The prime minister said the manifesto showed that the Congress had no faith in the security forces and the law of the land.
"This chowkidar stands as a wall between the sham manifesto of the Congress and national security. This manifesto has come with an expiry date--May 23 (the day poll results will be announced). On May 23, both the Congress and its 'dhakosla patra' will be gone," he said.
At both the rallies, Modi slammed opposition parties for seeking proof of the damage done by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan's Balakot where terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's training camps were targeted to avenge the killing of 40 CRPF troopers in Kashmir's Pulwama.
"While your chest swelled with pride and you held your head high, some people began crying and shouting here," he said.
"When the wound has been inflicted there (in Pakistan), why do you (the opposition) feel the pain. The 'Didi' sitting in Kolkata felt the pain more than it was felt in Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi," Modi said, taking a swipe at Mamata, who had demanded proof of the extent of damage inflicted during the IAF raids in Balakot.
The Prime Minister asserted that India was taking rapid strides towards becoming a "super power". "Be it the surgical strike, air strike or the satellite strike in space, India is rapidly marching towards becoming a super power and the world has realised this," he asserted and targeted the previous Congress governments over the "lack of political will" to execute these despite having the necessary capabilities.
He accused both the Congress and the TMC of "perpetuating family rule".
"In 55 years that a family ruled India, it stifled the talent of young people and spread the poison of casteism in society. It is being repeated in West Bengal where the aunt (Mamata Banerjee) and nephew (party MP Abhishek Banerjee) are looting people," he alleged.
The Prime Minister cautioned people against voting for the TMC which has "inherited the bomb and gun culture" from the Left.
Seeking to strike a chord with the electorate of north Bengal where illegal immigration is a sensitive and divisive issue, Modi said his government will act against infiltrators with the same toughness it had exhibited while tackling terrorists and naxalites.
"But I want to ensure you that bonafide refugees, who have suffered because of the faulty policies of the Congress, will get justice ... This chowkidar will ensure it. None of our Gorkhas will be made to suffer," he asserted.
Calling Mamata a "speed breaker" in the way of West Bengal's development, Modi said he was waiting for that to get out of the way so the state can march forward.
"I have not been able to ensure the development of Bengal with the same speed as the rest of the country. The reason for this is that in Bengal there is a speed breaker, and this speed breaker is known as Didi," Modi said, attacking the West Bengal chief minister.
He alleged that Mamata put hurdles in the way of implementation of the Centre's welfare schemes like Ayushman Bharat Yojana, PM Kisan Samman Yojana and the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA).