PM Modi bats for ‘asol paribartan’ in Bengal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed a mega rally at the Brigade Ground in Kolkata on Sunday. In his speech, PM Modi made remarks about the current Mamata Banerjee-led state government and declared that West Bengal will move towards development after the BJP is elected to power.

The rally was organised a few days after the Election Commission announced the dates for the eight-phase Assembly elections in West Bengal. The rally, which witnessed a record crowd presence, was also attended by several top BJP leaders along with noted personalities like veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty, whom the PM called “Banglar chhele” (Bengal’s son).

Setting the tone for the BJP’s campaign, Modi said, “The next 25 years are very important for the development of Bengal,” asserting that if the BJP is selected, the next five years will be aimed at laying the foundation of the state’s development. He assured people that the dream of ‘Sonar Bangla’ will be fulfilled as the government is planning for Bengal’s development along with an increasing investment in the state and protecting its culture, that will bring widespread change. “I have come to Kolkata to assure the people in the state of ‘asol poriborton’ (real change),” said Modi.

“The democratic system in Bengal will also be strengthened,” Modi promised, adding that efforts will be made to re-establish public belief in government systems, the police and the administration, which has been destroyed in the past.

 “CM Mamata Banerjee broke the trust when it comes to change,” said Modi, stating that the state trusted Banerjee and her cadre but the TMC government broke the trust of people. “The fight is now between the people and the TMC-Congress-Left government,” he said, asserting that the people want ‘shanti’, ‘Sonar Bangla’ and a ‘pragatisheel Bangla’ and, therefore, will fight those who have an anti-Bengal attitude.

He also accused Banerjee of nepotism for choosing to play the limited role of «bua» (aunt) to her «bhatija» (nephew) instead of becoming «didi» (elder sister) to the people. The PM also asksed Banerjee to consider herself as ‘India›s daughter’, instead of limiting herself to the idea that she is solely ‹Bengal›s daughter›.

Citing the recent incident of an 80-year woman in Bengal on whom cruelty was unleashed, PM Modi also commented on the treatment of women in the state.

The Prime Minister also took a dig at her changing her constituency this time from Bhowanipur to Nandigram. “Your (Mamata Banerjee’s) scooty took a turn towards Nandigram instead of going to Bhawanipore. Didi, I wish everyone well and don’t want anyone hurt. But what can I do if the scooty is destined to fall in Nandigram?” he said. The PM was referring to Banerjee’s scooter ride a few days ago in protest against rising fuel prices.

“I have known Didi for several years but this is not the Didi who stood up against the Left Front government. Her remote control is elsewhere. We are outsiders, they say, but are the founders of Congress not outsiders? Are Marx, Lenin and Mao not outsiders? But our leader was Syama Prasad Mookerjee, so Bengal is in the BJP’s DNA. We are indebted to Bengal,” PM Modi said, addressing the rally.

Slamming the Bengal CM further and accusing the state government of playing a “Corruption Olympics”, Modi asked what changes the TMC has been able to bring in the lives of the common people of the state in the last ten years. The TMC government is hoarding the cash provided by the Centre for several schemes, saying that the government does not do any work and does not let others do it, either, he claimed. “The BJP believes not only in announcing schemes, but also in implementing schemes,” said Modi.

The Prime Minister then threw a direct challenge at Banerjee, saying, “Didi, listen, TMC ka khela shesh. Khel khatam, vikas shuru. (The TMC’s game is over. The game ends, development begins)” Targeting Mamata Banerjee›s rule as one of «corruption and loot-tantra (loot), he said to the crowd, “Nothing is hidden. Bengal knows everything. But this khel (game) will not continue.

He also slammed the practice of commission baaji in the state, saying that roads leading to the airport, the Kolkata Metro expansion and regularisation of slums have been halted due to this. He said that it is time for the BJP to come to power in the state and end the practice.

Modi also declared that Kolkata won’t be stopped from becoming a futuristic city. Kolkata’s citizens wish to see their city on the top of the list of cities with a high livability index and the BJP will fulfil that target, he said.

Come 2047, when India will complete 100 years of its independence, Bengal will lead India, he said further.

According to ANI, the rally was expected to be attended by at least 700,000 people. More than 1,500 CCTV cameras were installed across the city and drones were used to monitor the venue.

The Assembly elections in West Bengal will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29 and the results for the 294-seat Assembly will be declared on May 2.

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