Hitting back at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi returned the “magician” remark directed at him and said here on Thursday that the country is “not afraid of magicians but the black magic” of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“Madam Soniaji, this country is not afraid of magicians. Our country is afraid of black magic…In the past 10 years, the country has been watching the black magic of the UPA government,” he said while addressing a gathering at Khaprail near Siliguri in Darjeeling district.

Just as a magician makes things disappear on the stage, Mr. Modi said that “black magic” has made jobs of youth disappear over the past 10 years and is making lives of farmers in the country difficult.

“The country needs to be protected from this black magic,” he said, adding that because of black magic, Congress supporters cannot see any of the country’s problems. The BJP prime ministerial candidate’s remarks came a day after Ms. Gandhi while addressing a gathering near Bangaluru had said that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is being projected as a “magician” who could cure all ills of the country.

Addressing the rally in Matigara Naxalbari Assembly constituency falling under Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat from where the ultra left movement in the country originated, he said Naxalbari is an example that despite violence, there has been no change in the lives of the people.

“Those who want to set up a red corridor from Pashupati to Tirupati are not Naxalite, but Maoists,” the BJP leader said.

Mr. Modi also referred to the “long fight of Gorkhas” for their rights and promised that the BJP would think afresh for the development of the Himalayan region if it came to power.

Though he refrained from any direct mention of the demand of “Gorkhaland” with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung by his side, he assured the people of hills, “your dreams are our dreams”.

Mr. Modi evoked his “chaiwala” connections with the people of Darjeeling hills. “Tea is first liking…you are a chaiwala and I am also a chaiwala,” he told the gathering. The BJP leader came down on infiltration from Bangladesh and said that those “infiltrating are trying to ruin our country.”

Mr. Modi however said that those are forced to leave their country and flee into India should be provided opportunities not only in West Bengal, but in other states like Gujarat and Rajasthan.

In his second rally in West Bengal in the past two months, the BJP leader urged the people to ensure that the Congress does win a single seat and the BJP gets highest number of seats ever from the State.