Not biased in favour of any region, religion: Modi

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Modi made the comments at a rally in Dimapur on the penultimate day of poll campaigning in Nagaland, where Christians account for around 88% of the population

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners are not biased in favour of any region or religion and want peace and prosperity for all.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we ensured vaccines reached every corner of the country. Infrastructure and welfare schemes of our government are meant for all and for everyone’s benefit,” he said at a rally in Dimapur on the penultimate day of poll campaigning in Nagaland, where Christians account for around 88% of the population.

Modi hoped the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which gives sweeping powers to armed forces in insurgency-hit areas, would soon be removed from Nagaland.

Nagaland goes to the polls on February 27 and the results will be declared on March 2.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting the election in alliance with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP). It has fielded 20 candidates while NDPP 40 as they hope to return to power.

Modi asked the voters to ensure the NDPP-BJP alliance’s win and give him another opportunity to serve Nagaland. “I want to fulfil the promises I made to all sections of people.”

He cited the developmental work in Nagaland and said the support for BJP and NDPP is because they have been working day and night for the state’s speedy development.

Modi targeted the Congress over its failure in ensuring peace, progress, and development in Nagaland for decades. He added the BJP and its partners have worked towards achieving that since 2014 when they returned to power at the Centre.

“Congress and its partners had the policy of getting votes and forgetting Nagaland and the rest of northeast. They did not give importance to stability and progress in the region. The party used to control Nagaland through a remote from Delhi. That is the reason Congress is suffering…,” said Modi.

He added during Congress rule, the northeast was used as an ATM. “The government money did not reach people but pockets of corrupt Congress politicians. Till 10 years back, no one could have imagined a change in that scenario in the region.”

Modi said the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state have used technology to ensure that money spent on the masses reaches their bank accounts directly without paying any commission to middlemen.

“Earlier the policy was to divide northeast, but we came up with PM-DevINE [Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region] for progress in the region. Our mantra for Nagaland is peace, progress, and prosperity.”

Modi said the incidents of violence in Nagaland have decreased by 75% over the past nine years. He added AFSPA has been removed from parts of the state.

“We are striving day and night to ensure AFSFA is removed from all of Nagaland and the rest of the northeast. Because of the BJP and NDA governments in the region, border disputes among states are getting addressed and it will lead to progress and prosperity.”

Modi promised stricter action against extortionists if the NDPP-BJP government returns to power in Nagaland, where rebel groups are often accused of extortion.

Modi was later scheduled to hold a roadshow in Shillong and address two rallies in Meghalaya, where elections are also being held on February 27.