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Atrocities of “govt of syndicates” to end in a few months: Modi targets TMC in Bengal

Modi’s address during a farmer’ rally became a virtual war cry for the Lok Sabha elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is aiming to win at least 22 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2018 23:16 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri and Koushik Dutta
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri and Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times, Midnapore
Modi,Midnapore,Modi rally in Midnapore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during ‘Krishi Kalyan Sabha’ rally, in Midnapore on Monday, July 16, 2018.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into the Trinamool Congress on Monday, alleging that West Bengal’s ruling party encouraged ‘syndicates’ that dictate everything from building materials one should buy to the money students should pay for securing admission to a college.

‘Syndicate’ is a popular term in Bengal that refers to local bodies of ruling party-backed toughs that run building material and extortion business.

Modi’s address during a farmer’ rally became a virtual war cry for the Lok Sabha elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is aiming to win at least 22 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

“Be it starting a new business, or building a hospital, or a school of a road, nothing moves in the state unless the syndicates, controlled by the ruling party, are taken into confidence. The syndicates also decide whom the farmers would sell their products to and at what price. These syndicates were behind the major chit fund scam in Bengal,” he said during a 40-minute speech.

The Prime Minister also thanked the people of Bengal for impressive results of BJP in the recently concluded panchayat polls despite “widespread violence and intimidation by the ruling party”.

Alleging that the situation in Bengal has worsened after the 34-year-old ‘misrule’ of the Left Front, he urged the people to throw out the Trinamool like the people in Tripura threw out the Marxist government.

“Did you bring change to land in a worse situation? I am confidant if people of Bengal decide to fight back the rule of syndicate in Bengal will end just as it has ended at Tripura recently,” Modi remarked, predicting that the Trinamool’s ‘atrocities’ will end in a few months.

Modi earlier addressed similar rallies in Punjab and eastern Uttar Pradesh, where he mainly dwelt on the steps taken by his government for farmers’ welfare.

On July 4, the Centre announced higher minimum support prices for 14 crops, setting each of these at a minimum of 1.5 times the cost of cultivation, as it sought to address distress in the agrarian economy and ensuing farmers’ protests.

On Monday, the Prime Minister reiterated that his government is working to double the income of the farmers by 2022.

Trinamool Congress reacted sharply to the PM’s ‘syndicate’ jibe. “BJP itself is a syndicate of corruption. Despite constant intimidation through central agencies, Trinamool will not bow down,” TMC secretary general and Bengal’s education minister, Partha Chatterjee said in Kolkata.

He also alleged that BJP tried to fill up the venue of the rally by bringing in people from other states while the saffron party insisted that the crowd was almost thrice the capacity the ground could hold.

“The ground has a capacity of accommodating 70,000. But there were many who could not enter. We estimate about 2 lakh people turned up,” said Samit Dash, West Midnapore district BJP unit president.

Earlier in his speech, Modi took a swipe at Mamata Banerjee saying he was grateful to the chief minister for welcoming him.

“I am grateful that she is folding her hands since it seems that she is welcoming me,” Modi said after the Trinamool Congress had unleashed a poster blitz, virtually covering Midnapore with cut outs and pictures of Mamata Banerjee.

Modi’s rally also triggered a skirmish between BJP supporters and the police. Around midday, BJP supporters beat up several policemen at Chowringhee crossing in Kharagpur crossing. They attacked policemen when they asked them to get down from the busses (due to traffic jam) and proceed on foot to the venue, about 10 km away.

“We will register a case on the incident,” said West Midnapore district police chief Alok Rajoria.

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 23:14 IST