Lok Sabha polls: PM Modi slams opposition in renewed eastern push | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Lok Sabha polls: PM Modi slams opposition in renewed eastern push

By, Patna/kolkata
Apr 08, 2024 01:22 AM IST

PM Modi reiterated his promises as a "guarantee of completion" during Bihar and West Bengal visits, accusing opposition of protecting the corrupt.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that opposition parties are trying to save the corrupt and reiterated that his promises were a “guarantee of completion” as he toured Bihar and West Bengal for the second time in four days as part of an eastern push ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and BJP candidate Ashish Dubey during a road show ahead of Lok Sabha elections, in Jabalpur, Sunday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and BJP candidate Ashish Dubey during a road show ahead of Lok Sabha elections, in Jabalpur, Sunday. (PTI)

The PM first travelled to Nawada in Bihar, and then to Jalpaiguri in northern Bengal where he hailed his government for its developmental policies and stressed that a third term for his party will be instrumental for India’s economic growth. Bihar, with 40 Lok Sabha seats, and Bengal with 42, are two of the largest states to go to the polls, and will be pivotal for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s goal (BJP) of sealing 370 seats in the elections.

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In both states, the BJP — in alliance in Bihar and alone in Bengal — is locked in fierce battles with regional outfits such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led coalition in Bihar and the Trinamool Congress in Bengal. Both regions go to the polls in the first phase on April 19.

Addressing a rally, first in Nawada for BJP candidate Vivek Thakur, the PM said some opposition leaders were seeking a ban on the BJP slogan “Modi ki guarantee” as they feared the party’s promises of poverty alleviation, reduction in electricity bills, and financial independence for the women of the state will be realised.

The BJP’s work in the last 10 years has given people reasons to vote for the party again this summer, the PM said and went on to list his government’s achievements. “Didn’t Modi give guarantee to remove Article 370, implement Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar’s Constitution in Jammu & Kashmir, abolish triple talaq, end the 500-year wait for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya? Did all these not happen?”

Hitting out at the opposition INDIA bloc, he said, “They hold hands in Delhi under compulsion and hurl abuses on one another in states. I talk about removing corruption, they strive to protect the corrupt.”

Despite surveys predicting over 400 seats in the 543-member Lower House, the PM said he was working hard because “Modi is not born to relax and enjoy. Modi is born to do hard work to serve the people”.

“If India today has become a force to reckon with in the world, it is not because of Modi. It is because of the power of votes and my effort is to seek your blessings to continue on the path the nation has chosen for me,” he said.

The pace and scale of development the country has witnessed in the last 10 years was unimaginable before the BJP came to power in 2014, the PM said, adding that this was reflected in the people’s support.

“I had said from the Red Fort, this is the time for India. This time has arrived after a long wait and we don’t have to let it go. We have to together work for a developed India,” he said, calling on the people of Bihar to vote for the NDA.

He also showered praise on Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who returned to the NDA fold in January, crediting him for ridding the state of “jungle raj”.

“Those who had to spend a lot of time in jungle Raj are witnessing a refreshing change in Bihar due to the hard work of Nitish Kumar and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi. They pulled the state out of jungle Raj,” he said.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had performed exceedingly well in the two states in 2019. In Bihar, the NDA — comprising the BJP, the chief minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — swept the state, winning 39 out of the 40 seats. This time, the NDA is facing a resurgent RJD, currently the largest party in the state assembly.

In neighbouring Bengal, the BJP posted its best-ever tally of 18 seats.

In his Jalpaiguri address, the PM launched a scathing attack on the Trinamool Congress, saying that the ruling party’s “syndicate Raj” prevails in the state, and the party is only interested in protecting its corrupt leaders.

“The TMC government seeks to have a free pass for loot and terror in Bengal. To shield its extortionist and corrupt leaders, the TMC orchestrates attacks on central investigative agencies when they come here,” he said.

His comments come a day after a team of officials from the National Investigation Agency was allegedly attacked by a mob on Saturday when attempting to arrest two main suspects in a 2022 blast case in Purba Medinipur district.

In a similar incident, an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team was attacked on January 5 at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas when it tried to search the house of TMC strongman Shahjahan Sheikh in connection with a public distribution system scam.

Urging the gathering at Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district to “teach the TMC a lesson in these elections” so that “deposits of its candidates get forfeited”, Modi called the attacks on agencies a reflection of how “law and Constitution are getting trampled” under the watch of the Bengal government. He mentioned that the situation in the state is such that “the court has to intervene” in various matters.

The Prime Minister accused the TMC government of impeding implementation of the Centre’s welfare schemes in the state.

Stating that the Centre had disbursed 30,000 crore to the West Bengal government under the PM rural housing scheme, Modi said, “We wanted the money to be sent directly to beneficiaries. But the TMC wants the central funds in their own account first. How can I allow them to loot people’s money?”

Claiming that funds for the piped drinking water project never benefited the poor in the state, Modi accused the Mamata Banerjee government of also putting brakes on projects like Ayushman Bharat health scheme, free gas connections and PM Kisan.

Referring to recent incidents in Sandeshkhali, where allegations of sexual abuse against TMC leaders emerged, Modi assured people that the culprits will spend the rest of their lives in jail.

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“The entire country has witnessed what happened in Sandeshkhali. Don’t you think the Sandeshkhali culprits should get exemplary punishment?” he remarked.

Modi, while avoiding a direct mention of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge’s name, slammed him for objecting to the BJP’s raising of the Article 370 abrogation issue during poll campaigns in other states.

“The Congress president thinks Article 370 has nothing to do with other states. Is Kashmir not an integral part of the country? This reflects their divisive mindset. It was Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, a Bengali, who fought against Article 370 and gave his life for the cause,” said Modi.

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