On his second visit to West Bengal ahead of election to the 294-member Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in the state. Addressing a public meeting in Hooghly, PM Modi said development in Bengal is not possible as long as cut money culture, syndicate rule and “tolabaji” (extortion) persist.
Accusing the TMC government of pursuing “appeasement politics” to protect its vote bank while neglecting its cultural heritage and icons, Modi said the BJP will give Bengal a government that ensures “development of all and appeasement of none”.
Stating that West Bengal has made up its mind for “Poribortan” (change), the PM said the state’s infrastructure development is the priority of his government. “Lotus will bring that ‘asol poribartan’ that youth aims for,” he said.
Further attacking the state government, he said the abysmal condition of the home of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, who wrote ‘Vande Mataram’, is an insult to Bengal’s pride.
He also attacked the Banerjee government for not allowing central schemes like the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat, depriving farmers and the poor of its benefits.
PM Modi at Dunlop play ground during a public rally. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)
Modi further said that the people of Bengal will be able to preserve and protect their culture and nobody will be able to scare or suppress them once the BJP forms its government in the state.
Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated the extension of the Kolkata Metro Railway from Noapara to Dakshineswar, famous for the temple of Goddess Kali.
Earlier in the day at Dhemaji Assam, he dedicated to the nation three projects worth Rs 3,222 crore of Petroleum and Gas ministry. PM Modi also inaugurated Rs 44.98 crore Dhemaji Engineering College and laid the foundation of Rs 54.71 crore Sualkuchi Engineering College.
Addressing a huge gathering after inaugurating and laying foundation of a slew of projects worth over Rs 3,300 crore, PM Modi enumerated steps taken by the state government led by Sarbananda Sonowal and the Centre over the past few years, and said they were working together for a balanced growth of the region.
Accusing the previous governments of neglecting Assam and the northeast, Modi further reaffirmed his commitment to the development of the region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flanked by Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, inaugurates Dhemaji Engineering College. (Photo: Twitter/@sarbanandsonwal)
He said the previous governments had adopted a “step-motherly” approach to Assam’s North Bank and neglected connectivity, health, education and industry.
Stating that those who ruled for decades since Independence believed Dispur was too distant from Delhi, he said, “Delhi now not far from Dispur, Delhi stands at your doorstep”.
Further, Modi asserted that he will visit Assam and other poll-bound states as many times as possible before the elections are announced, likely in the first week of March.
This was the PM’s third visit to Assam in a month.
Reaching out to tea garden workers, a solid support base of the BJP, Modi said improving their living condition was a priority of both the state and the central governments.
“With the blessings of the Brahmaputra, the land in this region is fertile. We are working for improving farm income, providing agriculturists better seeds, soil health cards and introducing pension schemes,” he said.
Mentioning the recently introduced farm reforms, he said the laws have been amended to ensure their produce reaches international markets. He added that the BJP government has earmarked Rs 20,000 crore for strengthening the fisheries sector, which will hugely benefit the state.
With PTI inputs