The PM underlined that Ms Banerjee and other Opposition leaders were shouting anti-national slogans as their base had been shaken by his steps.
Kolkata/Siliguri: Describing Trinamul Co-ngress supremo Mamata Banerjee as a “speed-breaker” on development in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted that her “boat has sunk”. In a series of rallies, in Silguri in North Bengal and later at Kolkata’s historic Brigade Parade Ground, Mr Modi also accused both the Congress and Trinamul Congress of being “sympathisers of Pakistan” who wanted to “break the morale” of India’s security forces and make them “helpless” in the fight against terror.
He also lambasted the West Bengal chief minister for questionning the airstrike at Balakot in Pakistan before he promised to build a “New Bengal” when the BJP would come to power in the state.
Addressing a Lok Sabha campaign rally in Siliguri, Mr Modi said: “If many big pundits, even myself excluded, had not visited this place and witnessed this sea of people, it would not have been possible to understand that Didi’s boat has sunk.” He lamented that he could not implement his welfare schemes in West Bengal, which he did at high speeds across the country successfully.
“Do you know the reason behind it? Yes, you have got it right. There is a speed-breaker in West Bengal. The people here know this speed-breaker as ‘Didi’. This ‘Didi’ is the speed-breaker on development for you. Didi is not bothered about the poor. She is more occupied in playing politics over poverty. So how can she work to eradicate poverty? If poverty ceases to exists, Didi’s politics will also end,” Mr Modi told the crowd.
Justifying his charges against Ms Banerjee, he referred to the non-implementation of Aayushman Bharat and other Central welfare schemes in the state. “When the poor fall ill, worries of medical expenses eat them. But what has ‘speed-breaker Didi’ done for them? A brake has been applied on a welfare scheme like Ayushman Bharat. The list of speed-breaker Didi’s activities is very long,” the PM alleged.
He went on to claim: “She has even put a brake on the livelihood of 70 lakh farmers and their families. Money is directly transferred to their bank accounts through the PM Kisan Yojana. But Didi is Didi. She is the speed-breaker after all. So she did the same thing on this scheme too.”
Ridiculing the other Opposition parties, the PM argued: “The same situation prevails upon the Congress and the Communists, who want poverty to continue. Their politics lies in keeping the poor in the same condition. That is why they have applied brakes on the development work for the poor. They have plotted to ensure the poor would not be uplifted.”
In his second rally at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground, the PM wondered how a group of Opposition leaders, invited by Ms Banerjee, could demand his ouster from power during a “fair” at the same venue recently. Attacking Ms Banerjee, Mr Modi asked: “Who was doubting the airstrike and was asking for its proof? Who demoralised the Army? Who sought to see the terrorists’ bodies? Who committed the sin of insisting for proof from their own son? Is it not an insult of Sudip Biswas and Bablu Santra, the martyrs of Pulwama? Who called the historic event of anti-satellite missle test ‘a drama’?”
The PM underlined that Ms Banerjee and other Opposition leaders were shouting anti-national slogans as their base had been shaken by his steps. Accusing the Congress of abolishing Tada and Pota, Mr Modi predicted that its manifesto, which calls for the removal of the AFSPA, would “expire” on May 23.
“The people of Bengal has made up their minds. Neither extortion nor hooliganism will prevail here. We and you will build a New Bengal free from the goonda raj of the Trinamul and the Left,” Mr Modi added.
Attacking the Congress, the PM said the actual age of democracy in India was barely 15-16 years as “family rule stifled talent and spread the poison of casteism” in society. He accused both the Congress and the TMC of “perpetuating family rule”.
“In 55 years that a family ruled India, it stifled the talent of young people and spread the poison of casteism in society. It is being repeated in West Bengal where the aunt (Mamata Banerjee) and nephew (party MP Abhishek Banerjee) are looting people,” he alleged.
The Prime Minister cautioned people against voting for the TMC which he said has “inherited the bomb and gun culture” from the Left parties.
Seeking to strike a chord with the electorate of north Bengal where illegal immigration is a sensitive and divisive issue, Mr Modi said his government will act against infiltrators with the same firmness as it had exhibited while tackling terrorists and Naxalites. “But I want to ensure you that bonafide refugees, who have suffered due to the faulty policies of the Congress, will get justice... This chowkidar will ensure it. None of our Gorkhas will be made to suffer,” he asserted.