Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the Congress saying that the past governments at the Centre ruled like “sultanates” and neglected the country’s rich heritage.

Addressing a public rally in Odisha’s Balangir, where he inaugurated a slew of development projects, PM Modi said that the government led by him is committed not only to conserving and preserving the country’s rich cultural heritage but also to clubbing ancient identities with modernity.

“Past governments ruled like Sultanates and neglected our rich heritage. They ignored our glorious civilisation and failed to pay attention to their preservation,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said some people are even opposing celebration of International Yoga Day without understanding that yoga is India’s ancient asset.

Claiming that priceless antique pieces and ancient idols were stolen and moved out of the country in the past, he said the NDA government has taken concrete steps to bring back the precious idols from abroad.

“In the last four years, many such idols have already been brought back,” PM Modi said.

“Some parties were against organising International Yoga day. They raised questions on erecting the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. They were also against changing the names of islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” he said.

In his third visit to the north-eastern state in less than three weeks, the prime minister accused the Congress of neglecting Odisha and misusing the funds released by the Centre for the welfare of the state.

“Odisha has got more than Rs 4,000 crore due to our decision to create District Mineral Fund. It will help in the development of the tribal areas where mining is carried out. However, unfortunately, the state govt hasn’t been able to spend that money for the welfare of the tribals,” he said.

Earlier, he launched a slew of projects worth over Rs 1,550 crore for Odisha.

He dedicated to the nation electrification of Jharsuguda- Vizianagaram and Sambalpur-Angul lines spanning 813 km completed at a cost of Rs 1,085 crore.

Modi also inaugurated the doubling of 14.2 km of Barpali-Dungaripali and 17.354 km Balangir-Deogaon railway lines, completed at a cost of Rs 189.3 crore. It is a part of the 181.54 km Sambalpur-Titlagarh rail track doubling project.

A Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) at Jharsuguda, built at a cost of Rs 100 crore, was dedicated to the nation by the prime minister.

He also inaugurated the 15 km-long Balangir-Bichhupali railway line laid at a cost of Rs 115 crore. It is part of the new 289-km Balangir-Khurda road line which connects to Howrah-Chennai main line on Khurda Road and Titlagarh-Sambalpur line at Balangir.

Modi flagged off a new train on Balangir-Bichhupali route which would benefit commuters of the region, besides connecting Bichhupali to Jharsuguda and Vizianagaram main line through Balangir.