Asserting that a strong “teacher” is needed at the Centre to discipline Trinamool Congress, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday rapped the Mamata Banerjee government for “lack of development” and “vote-bank politics” in West Bengal.
West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee during an election campaign in Burdwan district in West Bengal. (PTI Photo)
His demeanour was in total contrast to his February 5 speech at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground, where he was seen making overtures to Banerjee for a possible post-poll alliance. But on Thursday, he attacked Banerjee for failing to usher in the promised ‘poriborton’. “I can see Bengal has made up its mind about bringing in the real parivartan, not the bogus poriborton (what Trinamool brought in 2011),” he said.
Within hours of Modi’s tirade, the Trinamool reacted saying the Gujarat CM had blood of innocents on his hands. “Modi has blood on his hands after riots where innocents were killed…. He is advertising himself as the PM candidate. It is wishful thinking. The PM is decided by the support of 273 MPs, not by multi-million ads or super-paid news,” party spokesperson Derek O’ Brien said.
In his 30-minute address to more than 1 lakh people cheering him lustily in Siliguri, Modi said those responsible for the Saradha scam should be punished: “The chit fund scam has ruined thousands in a very short period. Those who engineered it should be punished.” This is a soft spot for Banerjee as several of her leaders are seen close to and benefiting from the group.
Over the past few weeks, the Trinamool chief has been devoting a lot of time in criticising the BJP, Modi and his Gujarat model of governance. She has repeatedly described Modi as the “face of riots”. Through speeches and Facebook, she is also trying to prove that her Bengal model of progress is far more effective than Modi’s Gujarat model.
“I thought your chief minister would criticise the Left and Congress. But I find she criticises Modi 100 times a day and, without it, she can’t digest her food,” Modi mocked Banerjee.
He also touched upon the Gorkhaland issue but stopped short of making a commitment on a separate state for Gorkhas. “The dream of the Gorkha brothers is our dream,” Modi said without specifically referring to their demand for a separate state. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) president Bimal Gurung was present on the dais. The Morcha is supporting the BJP candidate in three constituencies of Bengal, including Darjeeling.
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