'Game over, development begins': PM Modi at Bengal rally
Counting day for the five-state assembly elections will mark the end of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s “game” and the beginning of development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, as he hit out at political opponents in two rallies in poll-bound Bengal and Assam.
In Bengal’s Purulia district, the PM attacked Banerjee for votebank politics and said that the days of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress were numbered.
“On May 2, Didi’r ‘khela shesh hobe, vikas shuru’ (her game will be over and development will start),” Modi said, in a reference to the TMC’s “Khela Hobe” (game on) electoral slogan. “On May 2, Didi is going. Asol poriborton (real transformation) is coming. The countdown has started for the Didi-government to go. The days are numbered,” he added.
The eight-phase assembly elections in the state are scheduled to begin on March 27 and the counting of votes is on May 2.
The PM also targeted the TMC’s election slogan. “TMC says Khela Hobe, BJP says there would be employment, development, education, women and youth empowerment, housing for all, hospitals and schools,” Modi said.
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Hitting out at the TMC chief over the 2008 Batla House encounter case in Delhi and the 2019 Pulwama attack, Modi said Banerjee was indulging in appeasement politics.
“The people of Bengal have not forgotten whom you stood with after the Pulwama attack and raised allegations against the army. No one has forgotten how Mamata and a few other parties had behaved when the encounter took place. These people stood with the terrorists at that time and raised questions on the encounter,” he said.
The BJP recently shared a video, in which Banerjee could be heard questioning the authenticity of the 2008 Batla House encounter. “A fake encounter has taken place. If this is not a fake encounter, I would quit politics,” she could be heard saying in the video from 2008.
The CM had also targeted the Modi government in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. “Intelligence input was there. But jawans were neither airlifted, nor was there any naka checking or road checking...In order to take advantage during the election? Now Modi is trying play a game of war.”
Earlier this week, an Indian Mujahideen terrorist in the case was given the death penalty by a Delhi court.
“The entire country is seeing what is going on after the Brigade rally. After resorting to appeasement politics and beating people with lathis for 10 years, suddenly there seems to be a change in Mamata. This is not transformation of soul. This is fear of defeat,” he said, in a reference to his earlier rally in Kolkata.
The PM said that the Bengal CM intensified her attack against him after the 2019 Lok Sabha election results, when the BJP posted its best election result of 18 seats. “During Lok Sabha polls, TMC was reduced to half and this time it would be TMC saaf (TMC would be wiped out). Seeing the determination of the people Didi is getting irritated and targeting me. What not she is saying (against me),” Modi said.
The TMC was reduced from 34 seats in the 2014 elections to 22 seats in the 2019 polls.
Modi also addressed the controversy around the CM’s injuries during an event in Nandigram on March 10. “Like millions of other women, for me didi is also a daughter of the nation. When she got injured, even I was worried. I pray to God that she gets well soon,” he said.
The TMC rejected the prime minister’s allegations.
“As far as his claims that TMC’s days are numbered it is not a crime to daydream. Second is that Mamata Banerjee never does politics with the national security and Indian Army. It is the Prime Minister who does such politics,” said Firhad Hakim, state minister.
In Assam, which votes in three phases between March 27 and April 6, Modi said the Congress neither had a leader nor a policy for the state.
Addressing his first election rally in the state after the announcement of poll dates, the PM said, “In Assam they had to join hands with a communal party for election, which is sad. BJP’s policy of governance is development and if our party comes to power again in Assam, the speed of development will be double.”
“We do not look at the religion or language, everyone gets the benefits,” he said. He was referring to the Congress’s alliance with the All India United Democratic Front, led by perfume baron and MP Badruddin Ajmal.
He also said the Congress was making false promises. “I have seen videos how congress makes its list of poll promises. We know how corrupt this party can be,” he said.
Reacting to his statements, Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said that BJP was trying to escape its failure by dragging religion in political campaign.
“I’d like to ask Prime Minister to mention what development his party has done for Barak Valley and Assam in last five years? Their own senior leader are quitting party and claiming that syndicates were running the party,” she said.