Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday his fight is not with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, but against poverty, corruption and the devastation of Assam.
"Gogoji says that his fight is against me. But I do not have any fight against Gogoiji... We have a tradition here not to fight with the elders but to respect them," said Modi, addressing a massive public rally at Borguri in eastern Assam's Tinsukia district, ahead of assembly polls in the state.
He said he has respect for Gogoi, "but I have fight against poverty, corruption and against the destruction of Assam."
Gogoi had said earlier this month that the Congress party's fight in the forthcoming polls will be against Modi for his wrong policies and injustice towards Assam and other parts of the northeastern region.
The prime minister said Assam used to be known as one of India's richest states after Independence, but has since been reduced to poverty.
"Now Assam is recognized as one of the poorest states in the country. Who is responsible for this transformation from one of the richest states to a poor state? We were never in power in Assam," he said while highlighting the development agenda of the BJP-led central government.
"The people of Assam are still craving for electricity even after 60 years of Independence. Who is responsible for this?"
Modi said all the problems of 60 years under Congress rule will be solved in five years of BJP rule headed by Sarbananda Sonowal, the party's chief ministerial candidate.
"I can only see that Assam is going to have a young chief minister after the election," the prime minister said, appreciating the mammoth gathering of people in Borguri.
He promised the gathering that once a government is formed by the BJP and its alliance partners in Assam, development and progress will follow in the state.
"I want to assure you that if BJP is voted to power and a government is formed by the party and its allies, kids in the schools will not be taught 'A' for apple but 'A' for Assam," he said.
"When I became the prime minister I asked the government officials to tell me how many villages are there without electricity. They told me that there are 18,000 villages where even the electric posts have not gone. Out of this 18,000 villages about 2,000 are in Assam. We have taken it up immediately and process is on to electrify 1,000 such villages in Assam while the rest will follow," he said.
Modi is set on Saturday to also address public rallies at Majuli, Bihpuria, Bokakhat and Jorhat in the state, the BJP said earlier in a statement.