Dwelling on West Bengal's "huge potential", Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said it was imperative to develop the state for the development of east and northeast India.
"If the country has to walk the path of progress, the process has to begin with Bengal. Otherwise it will not happen. The progress of Bengal will not be its growth alone, but will lead to the greater development of east and northeast India," Modi told entrepreneurs here.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said Bengal had traditionally been the land of knowledge and awakening.
"While the 21st century is being seen as the century of knowledge world over, knowledge dawned in Bengal in the 18th century. This extraordinary land has always given strength to the society to fight social evils.
"The whole country was illuminated by the light of knowledge that came from Bengal. Even the call for armed revolution against the British came from Bengal," said Modi.
He also said that every second freedom fighter imprisoned at Andaman's Cellular Jail during the British regime was a Bengali.
"The British entered India through Surat but to chose to settle in Kolkata for they knew they can do nothing if they don't settle in Kolkata.
"So whoever plans for the growth of the country, has to realise the potential of Bengal," added Modi.