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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

PM Modi targets Opposition at Bengal rally; Mamata says ‘your time is up’

PM Modi hit out at the opposition parties as they attempt to put up a united front against the BJP-led NDA in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2019 17:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Durgapur, West Bengal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a public rally in Durgapur, West Bengal on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a public rally in Durgapur, West Bengal on Saturday.(Bloomberg)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a fresh attack on the opposition parties over their attempt to present a united front against the BJP-led NDA government in the upcoming Lok Sabha election saying “they are scared” because “I am fighting corruption”. But minutes later, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shot back at PM Modi saying his tenure will end in a month but he “doesn’t seem mentally prepared to go.”

Referring to opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata last month, PM Modi said, “This chaiwala has stopped the illegal income of the high and mighty…This is why all kinds of people were taking vows in Kolkata to remove this chowkidar.”

“Look at their photographs…They look so scared,” PM Modi said taking a dig at the opposition leaders, who had attended the United India rally organised by Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in January.

Watch| Huge crowd at rally shows why Mamata resorted to violence: PM Modi


He said, “Those who did not even see each other four years ago assembled in Kolkata… They are abusing me because I am working against corruption.” On January 19, the TMC had organised a rally in Kolkata where leaders of 24 parties including the Congress shared the stage with Banerjee.

Responding to PM Modi’s charge, Banerjee said, “In true fascist style, he is trying to encircle everyone with agencies…The Union government will last for a month at the most. But it seems he is not mentally prepared for going out of power.”

The prime minister attacked Mamata Banerjee accusing her of preventing the officials of central government agencies from carrying out probe in West Bengal.

“Didi, if you have not done anything wrong, why are you scared. What is that you are afraid of,” said PM Modi adding he was made to “sit for nine hours in Delhi” during the UPA rule when the CBI probe cases against him when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.

“I never attacked agencies…I said you can bring more agencies to probe cases against me…I am honest. I am not scared…But they are so scared that they don’t want the BJP president to land in West Bengal,” said PM Modi.

PM Modi targeted Banerjee saying people of West Bengal have to pay “Trinamool Tolabaji Tax” for college admission and recruitment of teachers as there is a “syndicate raj” in the state.

“Her exit is certain”

At his second public rally of the day in West Bengal, PM Modi accused the Mamata Banerjee government of withdrawing from the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme of the central government for “political reasons.”

“The poor were getting benefits from Ayushman Bharat…Didi lost her sleep as she feared what will happen to her if every ailing person would get treatment and chant Modi-Modi,” he said.

“Such a heartless governmnt must not stay in power any longer,” PM Modi said adding, “her exit is certain”.

The prime minister also made a strong defence of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme introduced in the interim budget amid criticism by the opposition. PM Modi said the BJP-led government introduced “the biggest ever scheme for the benefit of the farmers without doing any drama like the Congress did in 2008.”

“PM Kisan is a Rs 75,000 crore scheme. We could have done the drama of loan waiver like the Congress…But we have brought a permanent scheme…This is not a one-time scheme…It will stay with the farmers for years,” he said.

The prime minister said, “The Congress brings loan waiver every ten years… They came up with a Rs 52,000 crore loan waiver scheme 10 years ago. Our scheme will offer Rs 7.50 lakh crore to farmers in the next years. Their scheme was aimed at benefitting 2-3 crore farmers while ours will benefit 12 crore. Isn’t it a bigger scheme?”

Earlier, PM Modi addressed a rally at Thakurnagar in 24 North Parganas district in an apparent attempt to reach out to influential Matua community, which originally hails from Bangladesh and migrated to West Bengal during 1950s following religious persecution in that country.

First Published: Feb 02, 2019 15:35 IST