Shyampur/Basirhat (West Bengal), April 23 (IANS) Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday came down heavily on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over corruption and unemployment, and also ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism of her, reminding the people that the Trinamool Congress and the BJP had a past alliance in the state.
Addressing successive rallies in Shyampur in Howrah district and Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, Gandhi accused both Modi and Mamata of being “anti-poor”.
“When Modi comes to Bengal, he speaks against Mamata but back in Delhi he asks his press friends not to write anything against the Trinamool and even asks them to support Mamata. And don’t forget Mamata had supported the BJP,” said Gandhi.
Attacking Banerjee for not keeping the “big promises” she had made before the 2011 assembly polls, Gandhi said: “She had declared she would usher in ‘parivartan’ (change). But five years down the line, there has been no change in the state.”
The Congress leader said the jute industries which provided jobs to lakhs have now closed down one after the other, while 50,000 people who used to work in brick kilns are now unemployed.
Comparing Banerjee with Modi, he said both had the habit of making false promises.
“Modi promised two crore jobs. Mamata ji promised 70 lakh jobs in Bengal. But has Modi ji, Mamata ji given employment to a single person? No.”
“Modi doles out sops and incentives to the rich corporate, brings out schemes so that their black money can be legalised. But he does not have a single rupee to give to the common people who are reeling under price rise.
“Neither Modi nor Mamata can hear the desperate cries of the farmers, the wails of the poor, they can’t see the frustration of the jobless youth,” he said.
He said if the Congress-Left coalition comes to power, it would focus on “education, employment and healthcare, three things every Indians wants”.
Gandhi said that earlier people used to come to Bengal to look for jobs, but now the youth have to venture out to other states and even to the Middle East in search of employment.
Bringing up the Saradha chit fund scam, he said that under the Mamata Banerjee regime, money was “looted from the people” by the perpetrators of the scandal.
On the collapse of the Vivekananda flyover in Kolkata last month, the Congress leader said the injured and the families of the dead told him that the structure came down as the contract was given to a Trinamool worker “who used inferior quality cement and steel” and did not complete the work even in five years.
“But none of Mamata ji’s party workers suffered. It is the common people whose dear ones died or were injured.”
Gandhi said the survivors told him of the “syndicate raj” and “mafia raj”. “They implored me to eradicate the mafia raj.”
He said his party entered into an alliance with the Left Front in Bengal against the syndicate raj, and to ensure jobs, development and progress for the people.
“Time has come to remove the corrupt government of Mamata ji, and root out the syndicate raj,” he added.