Infiltrators from Bangladesh have to go back, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi reiterated at a rally at Bankura district in West Bengal, just a day after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee dared him to touch them.
The issue of Bangladeshi refugees has become a talking point following Modi’s remark at a rally in Serampore on April 27 that illegal immigrants from the neighbouring country have to pack their bags.
“Those who are taking away jobs here have to leave. The priority is jobs for the youth of this country. That is our first responsibility,” Modi said at the Bankura rally on Sunday. He spoke for about 20 minutes.
The Gujarat chief minister indicated that those who were being forced to flee to India might be taken care of, but warned of stern steps against infiltrators.
He also stepped up his criticism of the Mamata Banerjee government, challenging the Bengal chief minister to jail all the culprits of the Saradha scam.
“Women are safe in Gujarat, but not in Bengal where a woman is heading the government,” said Modi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader is scheduled to address another rally in Asansol in support of party candidate, Bollywood playback singer Babul Supriyo.
On his fourth visit to Bengal during this campaign, Modi said the Bengal chief minister, who has described him as a paper tiger, was attacking him out of fear. “Why is she afraid of a paper tiger?” he asked.
“If you have the guts, put the Saradha culprits behind bars. Then I will admit you are a real tiger.”
Modi added Banerjee has to stop “her drama”, run her government properly and compete with him on development. “If BJP comes in power in Delhi, citizens of West Bengal can have rosogollas in both hands,” he said, switching from the now-famous laddu reference he had used in his February 5 speech in Kolkata.
“West Bengal voters have to decide how to take advantage of the new government at the Centre. If a big power plant is coming up, electricity can only reach the villages if poles come up. Unless there are BJP MPs, how can the connection take place? So elect BJP candidates,” he told the crowd.
Modi’s fourth visit comes against the backdrop of party president Rajnath Singh suggesting 48 hours ago that a BJP government at the Centre would sympathetically consider Banerjee’s demand for fiscal relief package for debt-stressed Bengal.
State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury on Saturday said Trinamool leaders were secretly visiting BJP leaders for possible post-poll understanding.
Banerjee, however, is continuing her strident anti-Modi and anti-BJP campaigns.
On May 7, Modi is scheduled to visit Barasat to campaign for party candidates Samik Bhattacharya (Basirhat) and PC Sorcar (Barasat).
His earlier campaigns were from Brigade Parade Grounds in Kolkata on February 5, when he spoke of cooperation with the Bengal CM. But from his rally in Siliguri on April 10, Modi started criticising her in an increasingly strident tone.
On his April 27 visit to Serampore to campaign for party candidates Bappi Lahiri (Serampore) and Chandan Mitra (Hooghly), Modi launched an all-out attack on Banerjee, her pro-Muslim policies and asked who bought her doodles for high prices. Modi has also claimed that the Trinamool chief failed to usher in real parivartan (change) in the state, and promised to bring it to Bengal.
The BJP has traditionally been a fringe player in Bengal. It got only 6% of the votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. This time, the party is hoping for a higher share.