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New Delhi: Ahead of the national elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday appealed to the voters of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the states where the BJP has been weak, to choose his party over the dominant parties there, and attacked the CPI (M) and the Congress, saying they are foes in Kerala but are BFFs (best friends forever) in other places. Modi held consecutive events in the two southern states that have always snubbed the BJP, and claimed his party was unmatched in serving the people of the two states.

The PM has visited the states several times in the past few months, mixing official work with temple trips and roadshows that coincide with the BJP’s efforts to garner support as it is not part of any major alliance in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. His remarks in Kerala that the BJP never used any state as a vote bank and that Tamil Nadu got more central funds in the last decade under his party’s rule are seen as responses to the two states’ allegation that they were deprived of funds.

The Congress, the DMK and their allies currently hold a total of 59 national seats in these states. BJP has no seat. While Modi lambasted the local opponents CPI (M) and Congress for their inconsistency in Kerala, in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, he focused on issues related to Tamil pride, which is closely linked with the state politics.

Addressing the concluding ceremony of BJP state chief K Surendran’s march at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, Modi criticized the opposition, saying it had no vision for the country’s development. The opposition parties are sure that they will not win the upcoming national elections and that is why their “leaders abuse me,” the Prime Minister said. He made similar comments in TN where he said the huge opposition bloc INDIA has already “accepted defeat” but was eager to plunder the country and the state.

“The Congress and the Communists are each other’s adversaries in Kerala, but in other states, they are BFFs. BFFs means best friends forever,” the PM said. He said the Congress charged the Communist Chief Minister (Pinarayi Vijayan) of being involved in corruption and scams and called the Left government as fascist.

“The Communists in return, beat up the Congress workers and called their previous governments as being involved in various scams. However, outside Kerala, at the INDI alliance meetings, they sit together, eat samosas and biscuits, and have tea,” the PM said.

“So in Thiruvananthapuram, they say one thing and in Delhi, they say something else. The people of Kerala will respond to this treachery in the coming national elections.”

The BJP never views a state from the angle of a vote bank, Modi said and added that over the past 10 years, Kerala has enjoyed development like other BJP-ruled states. He said he assured that his government would make all possible efforts to help the people of Kerala achieve their dreams and aspirations.

‘Modiyude guarantee’ (Modi’s guarantee) is to make India the third-largest economy in the world as well as eliminate poverty and corruption from the country. “Even when the BJP was not strong in Kerala, we worked to empower Kerala. Over the past 10 years, the benefits of development have been enjoyed by Kerala as much as by the BJP-ruled states,” the Prime Minister said.

In Tamil Nadu, Modi was very critical of the ruling DMK. However, he was lavish in his praise for the AIADMK icons –late Chief Ministers M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa. AIADMK, which contested the 2019 national polls and the 2021 state polls as a BJP ally, had announced breaking ties with its saffron party in September 2023.

Modi’s extensive praise for the two leaders, especially for MGR who has a cult status, came at Palladam. The town is part of the western region regarded as the AIADMK’s stronghold.