BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday said the death of Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania in Delhi was a matter of national shame and asked the Centre and the Delhi government to shun their blame game on the issue and ensure justice for him.

He said such incidents further alienate the people of the northeastern States, which due to the “unfortunate policies” of the Congress have been neglected and have not developed in the last 60 years.

“It (the death of Nido Tania in Delhi) is a shameful incident for the nation. I offer my prayers for the boy and his family...There is lack of governance there. There are cases of atrocities on women... I hope the Government of India and the government of Delhi come out of the blame game and works towards ensuring justice for the young boy and his family,” Mr. Modi said.

19-year-old Taniam, an Arunachal Pradesh MLA’s son, was found dead last month after he was allegedly beaten up by a group of 5-6 men in Lajpat Nagar market in South Delhi following an altercation sparked by their taunts on his hairstyle.

Mr. Modi attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for failing to ensure the development of the North East region despite representing it for the last 23 years in the Rajya Sabha.

“The Congress chief ministers invite the Prime Minister for laying foundation stone or cutting ribbons for projects but it ends there and nothing happens afterwards,” he said.

The BJP leader said the NDA Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken the initiative of creating a separate ministry for the northeastern region and taken steps to develop it but the Congress governments in the state and the Centre “have been indulging in corruption only”.

The BJP leader listed the issues of insurgency and the drug-trafficking as the ones impacting the north-eastern region and accused the Congress government in the state of failing in its efforts to control the menace. He said insurgency was also leading to “fake encounters” which is going to further spoil the situation. Mr. Modi said the BJP will work towards developing the potential of herbal industry, horticulture and agro-processing industries when it comes to power.

Our correspondent adds:

Mr Modi appealed to the people of Manipur to vote for change and development by supporting the BJP candidates for the two Lok Sabha seats in state. Mr Modi was airlifted to the heavily guarded public meeting at Langjing Achouba in Imphal West district in a helicopter from Imphal in view of threats from insurgents.

In his first election tour of the north-eastern sates, Mr Modi spoke of the alleged corrupt practices of the Congress ministry led by Okram Ibobi Singh for the last 13 years. He cited the example of awarding contracts worth crores to a "company" to clear hyacinth from the Loktak Lake, the largest natural lake in eastern India. Though the company was supposed to employ several hundred persons, the office was located in a single room in a residential area in Delhi.

Armed and unarmed policemen and security personnel were heavily deployed near the meeting site. Vehicles of any kind were not permitted nearby. After the 45 minute speech Modi left for Delhi by helicoper from the meeting venue.

Party workers had been brought in villagers in buses to the venue and though the BJP leaders in Manipur had speculated that there would be about 100,000 persons in the meeting, the crowds were thinner. Mr Modi spoke in Hindi. There was a sizeable Muslim presence at the meeting in defiance of a boycott call given by some Muslim organisation.

Mr Modi also pointed to the poor condition of the two national highways which were the only tenuous lifelines for the state. He said the Congress government had not done anything to improve these highways. Stating that the Congress had failed to safeguard the territorial integrity of Manipur.