Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned south Indian states against the "power-hungry" Congress’ game plan to bring down the number of Lok Sabha seats in south states during the next round of delimitation exercise.

Speaking at a public meeting in Nizamabad, the Prime Minister sought to pay back the Congress in its own coin, giving a new twist to its slogan "jitna aabadi utna haq (rights in proportion to the population)". He took a jibe at the Congress, saying it did not realise that the very slogan it was supplied by the scriptwriters would render great injustice to south Indians and minorities.

Amid growing demand for caste census from various parties, Modi announced that poor people were the largest caste in the country and said he would appeal with folded hands to all parties to join him in uplifting the poor. "To me, the only caste that needs attention is poor and serving the needy is the real social justice. ‘Yehi Modi ka sapna, yehi Modi ka sankalp, saadhana aur Tapasya (This is my dream, my promise, my effort and penance)’," he said.

Referring to the delimitation exercise, the Prime Minister said southern states had achieved remarkable progress in population control, but would stand to lose heavily if the Congress’ new idea of rights in proportion to the population is implemented.

"South India stands to lose 100 Lok Sabha seats. Will south India accept this? Will south India forgive Congress?" he asked, generating loud cheers from the crowd.

He dared other partners in the

‘INDI Alliance’ to question Congress on which direction it desired to take the country.

The Prime Minister also demanded that the Congress make clear its stance on state control over minority religious institutions and their funds. In south India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, the state government encroached on Hindu religious institutions and utilised their revenues for state spending. Similar is the case with Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana, he said.

"Going by their new slogan (rights in proportion to the population), will Congress advocate taking control of minorities’ religious institutions and their funds or free the Hindu religious institutions from the clutches of the state?" he said, adding that the Congress would do neither.

On his government’s achievements, Modi said the day-and-night efforts of his government yielded results as was evident from the Niti Aayog report, which showed 13.5 crore families were out of poverty in the past five years.

Claiming that his track record was to fulfil all promises, he said he was the one to lay foundation stones for infrastructure works across the country and he was also the one to inaugurate them after timely completion. "Yehi hai Modi ka guarantee (This is Modi guarantee)," he said.

The Prime Minister also took a dig at Congress’ promises for the state, saying they promise the moon before polls, but come up with a series of restrictions while implementing the promises after coming to power.

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