WARDHA: Slamming the Congress for the 'Hindu terror' metaphor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday charged the opposition party with insulting "peace-loving" followers of the religion by linking them to terrorism.
The Hindus have now woken up and the country has decided to "punish" the opposition party, Modi said as he launched the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance's Lok Sabha poll campaign in Maharashtra at a public rally here.
The Congress is scared to field its leaders from constituencies where majority dominates in terms of voter- base, Modi said. He did not name Congress chief Rahul Gandhi who has decided to contest the Lok Sabha election from Wayanad in Kerala.
"The Congress tried to stain crores of the country's people using the term Hindu terror. Tell me, weren't you deeply hurt when you heard the term 'Hindu terror'? Is there a single incident in the history of thousands of years of Hindus engaging in terrorism?" Modi said.
He also asked the people whether they would forgive the Congress for committing the "sin" of linking peace- loving Hindus to terrorism.
The prime minister said the Congress was very well aware now that the country has decided to "punish" it.
"Some leaders are shying away from contesting polls (in the first place). Those, whom it (Congress) called terrorist, have woken up," Modi said.
"They linked peace-loving Hindus to terrorism... they are scared now to contest election from constituency where majority population dominates...they are forced to go where majority (Hindus) are in minority," he added.
Modi also targeted NCP chief Sharad Pawar, claiming the Maratha strongman shied away from contesting the Lok Sabha poll after sensing that "the wind was blowing in unfavourable direction".
He claimed the NCP was slipping from Pawar's hands and that a "family feud" has hit the party. Pawar was being "hit wicket" by his nephew (Ajit Pawar), Modi added.
He charged the Congress-NCP combine of questioning the valour of soldiers and insulting them after the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strike.
Modi said there was a time when Pawar thought he could become India's prime minister, but withdrew from contesting the election sensing an unfavourable situation.
"Sharad Pawarji is also aware which way the wind is blowing. This time, the people of the country have made big guns to run (away), leaving the (election) ground," he said.
He charged Pawar with ignoring problems of farmers, adding his "false promises" stood exposed.
Modi said the Congress and NCP combine in Maharashtra was like "Kumbhakarna" and charged it with engaging in scams like irrigation.
Kumbhakarna, brother of Ravana in the epic Ramayana, used to sleep for six months at a stretch.
Modi also termed the Congress' "abuse" that he was a "chowkidar of toilets" as an "ornament" for him.
He congratulated ISRO scientists on the successful launch of EMISAT satellite on board polar rocket PSLV-C45 from Sriharikota.
The Wardha constituency is one of the seven Vidarbha parliamentary seats which go to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra on April 11.
Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ramdas Athawale and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also attended the rally along with other leaders of the 'Mahayuti' comprising BJP, Shiv Sena and RPI(A).