New Delhi, April 20 -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dubbed the Congress a vine which has no roots or branches and sucks dry those who support it and asked people to be wary of the opposition alliance in realising the goals of 'Viksit Bharat' and 'Viksit Maharashtra'.

Addressing a rally in Parbhani in Maharashtra's Marathwada region to canvas for NDA ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha's Mahadev Jankar, who is contesting from Parbhani Lok Sabha seat, Modi said the 2024 polls were not just to form the government, but to make India developed and self-reliant.

This was Modi's second rally of the day in the state. Before that, he addressed a public meeting at the neighbouring Nanded constituency. Both seats go to polls in the second phase on April 26.

"Congress is a vine which doesn't have roots or branches. It sucks dry those who lend support to it," Modi said, hitting out at the opposition.

He accused the Congress of partitioning the country and creating the Kashmir issue. Modi said the Congress did not allow the Constitution to be implemented in Kashmir under the pretext of Article 370.

Article 370, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated by the Modi government in 2019.

Congress and its friends dislike every heritage of the country, he claimed.

Modi also launched a broadside at the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi in the state. He said the Congress and the "fake Shiv Sena", a reference to Shiv Sena (UBT), were busy decorating Yakub Memon's grave. Memon, a convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, was hanged in 2015.

"When the INDI alliance (opposition grouping) was in power, they did not make (people) feel that the Nizam rule had ended, the Razakar mentality was overwhelming here. Their priority was (to decorate) Yakub Memon's grave," said the BJP's start campaigner.

Modi said Parbhani is the land that seeks the inspiration of Bal Thackeray, the late Shiv Sena founder, and asked the crowd whether the Razakar mentality should have any place there.

A large part of the Marathwada region was under the Nizam rule and subjected to attacks by the Razakar militia.

Modi also accused the opposition of blocking schemes like 'Jal Yukta Shivar' initiated by the then Devendra Fadnavis-led NDA government and Marathwada water-grid programme between 2014 and 2019.

He urged people to be wary of the "INDI alliance in realising the goal of 'Viksit Bharat' and 'Viksit Maharashtra'".

He said the 2024 Lok Sabha polls were all about making India the third-largest economy in the world.

In the last term of his government, Modi said, people saw the success of Chandrayaan (Moon mission) and in the next term, 140 crore Indians will witness Gaganyaan's (ISRO's manned mission) success.

This is the first election where people are talking about the success of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat', from anti-coronavirus vaccine to weapons for the armed forces, he said.

"In only ten years, the country has traversed a long journey of development," Modi said.

The PM said when he first contested the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the talk in the country was about the fear of terror attacks and blasts and the pain of the deaths of soldiers. "However, the talk was about surgical strikes in the next five years in 2019," he said.

Modi said he had lived a life of poverty, understood the pains of the poor and stressed that no poor should go through what he had experienced.

It is "Modi's guarantee" that those who have missed out on a house or a gas or tap water connection will get one in his third term, he said, adding that it is "Modi's guarantee that in the next five years, three crore new houses would be built for the poor".

In the Parbhani constituency, Jankar is pitted against sitting MP Sanjay Jadhav of the Shiv Sena (UBT).

Of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, five went to polls in the first phase on Friday. Polling in the remaining seats will be held in four phases between April 26 and May 20.

Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Millennium Post.