Referring to the gold smuggling case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 30 targeted Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government for "betraying" people for "a few pieces of gold".
The prime minister also alleged that, for years, there was a secret agreement between the LDF which comprises Left parties and the Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the state.
"Today, I have come among you to seek your blessings for the BJP in the upcoming state elections. I have come here with a vision that is refreshingly different from the current situation in Kerala," PM Modi said at a rally in Palakkad.
'Metro Man' E Sreedharan, who recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is contesting from the Palakkad assembly constituency.
"Judas betrayed Lord Christ for a few pieces of silver. LDF has betrayed Kerala for a few pieces of gold," the prime minister said, possibly referring to the ongoing probe into the gold smuggling scam.
PM Modi also said that people of Kerala have realised how the UDF and the LDF had misled them. "For many years, the worst kept secret of Kerala politics was the friendly agreement of UDF and LDF. Now, the first time voter of Kerala is asking — what is this match-fixing? People are seeing how UDF and LDF misled them," PM Modi said.
Elections to all 140 Legislative Assembly seats in Kerala will be held in a single phase on April 6. Counting of votes will take place on May 2, along with Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The prime minister highlighted how the Congress and the Left parties were allies in West Bengal but rivals in Kerala. "In West Bengal, Congress and Left are one; they were partners in UPA-1 (United Progressive Alliance government) in Delhi. The Left continues to give issue-based support to the Congress but here in Kerala during elections, they level allegations against each other," he added.
PM Modi also accused both LDF and UDF of ignoring Kerala's tourism sector. “Kerala and tourism have a close link. Sadly, UDF and LDF have not done much to improve tourism infrastructure. When we work towards improving connectivity and building road infrastructure, it will naturally boost tourism. In the last seven years, India has improved its position in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rankings.”
The prime minister also said that the BJP government will end violence in Kerala once it comes to power in the state. "Left parties have been in power here many times. But their leaders still behave like junior-level goons. Under them, political rivals are killed, hacked and beaten. BJP government in Kerala will stop this violence."
He added that the BJP was focusing on Kerala's 'FAST' development. "By FAST, what I mean... F for Fisheries and Fertilizers... A for Agriculture and Ayurveda... S for Skill development and Social justice and T for Tourism and Technology," PM Modi elaborated.Check Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the 2021 assembly election here