Depicting Uttarakhand as a land of the brave soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged voters in state to give exemplary punishment in the polls to people who ruined their future.
He launched a frontal attack on Congress for "insulting" the armed forces by questioning the surgical strikes, "sleeping" over OROP for 40 years and for "indulging" in corruption.
“The time for those who looted the country for 70 years has come to an end. I promise that those who looted the country will have to pay back now. Neither will I rest nor will I let the looters rest in peace till this task is complete. It is time everyone gives an account now,” Modi told his last poll rally in Pithoragarh ahead of the February 15 election.
He exhorted the people to vote out the "tainted" Congress government that sullied 'devbhoomi's' image turning it into a "lootbhoomi" and "ruined" the state due to its lack of vision to tap its full potential.
He also hit out at Congress accusing it of opposing Uttarakhand's creation and said it has now aligned with SP the government of which in Uttar Pradesh then committed atrocities on people agitating for the state's formation.
Modi asked the people to take a pledge to hand down exemplary punishment in the polls to those who played with their future so that no future government dares to do so.
Describing Uttarakhand as a land of the brave soldiers, he attacked Congress for questioning the veracity of the surgical strikes, which, he said, "insulted the armed forces and the valour of those who made supreme sacrifice for the country".
"It is a misfortune of our country that some parties and leaders raise questions about our armed forces and the valour of those who laid down their lives for the country. No one should ever question their bravery," he said.
Terming the cross-LoC strikes as a "big incident" in military history which various security agencies across the world are studying, he said when Indian soldiers carried out the operation and demolished terrorist camps without losing a single life, Congress posed several questions including how no one was killed in the attack.
"Does it behove Congress to do this. Is this not an insult to the armed forces? Is this not an insult to the valour of our brave soldiers? You do politics and attack Modi as much as you can, but don't ever raised doubts about our military and the soldiers' bravery," he said.
Attacking Congress for "sleeping over" the one-rank one- pension (OROP) issue for 40 long years, Modi said, "Did they not insult the armed forces by ignoring the soldiers' claims for so long.
"Did they not make fun and insulted the armed forces by earmarking a mere Rs 500 crore in the budget for OROP which would have cost a total of Rs 12,500 crore. Our government has already paid Rs 6,500 crore to the soldiers as OROP benefit," he said.
Earlier, addressing a rally at GITI Maidan in Shrinagar,
Modi said Congress had no vision for growth even though the state had great potential in tourism and allied sectors.
"It is three months since demonetisation happened but they are still abusing me. Don't you think I should make those who have looted this country ruthlessly by taking away the poor's share and exploited the middle-class for 70 years pay back.
"I won't sit relaxed until I have made them do so. I have waged a war against corruption and black money for the sake of the poor and nothing can make me step back. I am ready to face anything for the sake of the country's poor," he said.
Asking people to give his party a chance to drive it to new heights of development in Uttarakhand over the next five years, he said, "Have you ever thought why despite having such great potential Uttarakhand has lagged behind Chattisgarh and Jharkhand which were created together by Atal Bihari Vajpayee?
"In spite of the Maoist problem, Chattisgargh with a BJP government has established itself among the fastest growing states," he said.
Similarly, Jharkhand despite being a backward area has begun to attract investors under BJP rule, he said.
Modi said that he has grand plans to tap the state's tourism potential and herbal wealth to lure visitors from all over the world to its doorsteps.
Alleging that Chief Minister Harish Rawat failed to stop exodus from villages in hills due to lack of job opportunities, he asked why should a state that has the potential to attract the whole world in fields of tourism, herbal wealth and unique traditions in yoga should suffer from migration of young people in search of livelihood.
Stressing that the Centre's promotional efforts has popularised yoga all over the world and people from far corners wanted to visit Haridwar and Rishikesh, he said there is tremendous untapped potential in these cities to develop as international yoga destinations.
At Khel stadium rally in Pithoragarh, Modi said, "The February 15 Assembly polls are an opportunity for the people of the state to punish Congress. The people should take a vow to dislodge a tainted government and replace it with one led by BJP."
Accusing the Chief Minister of not having the courage to face the people of his constituency which falls in Pithoragarh district, the Prime Minister said Rawat's "sense of guilt over cheating his own people had made him flee to constituencies in the plains and contest from there".
The Prime Minister also highlighted the steps taken by his government for the welfare of servicemen by tripling the amount they used to get for the marriage of their daughter and increasing four times the Defence Minister's discretionary fund.
A skill development scheme has also been launched for servicemen nearing retirement so that they can get employment after their retirement at a young age, he said.
Giving an example, he said the Centre had recently laid the foundation stone of a Rs 12,000-crore all-weather 'Chardham" road project and that once it is completed it will give an unprecedented boost to tourism in the state.
"It will also generate new employment opportunities for people living in rural areas," he said, adding it was a reflection of what a vision and a true intent to work can do for development.
Modi hit back at Congress for criticising him for demonitisation saying the measure had robbed the party of its sleep.
He also said, "Even in Uttarakhand Congress and SP have a secret alliance.
Modi also attributed the delay in implementation of Rs 4000-crore Tapovan-Vishnugarh hydel project to the "lax" manner in which the state government was going in delimitation of the eco-sensitive zone.
"I have been trying hard for the implementation of this ambitious project (Tapovan-Vishnugarh) but the state government has been so laid-back about delimitation of the eco-sensitive zone that it has been hanging fire," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)