Kharagpur (West Bengal), March 27 (IANS) Firing on all cylinders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dubbed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a “Shahenshah”, raised the sting operation that showed a number of Trinamool Congress leaders allegedly accepting bundles of cash and called the Congress-Left Front poll adjustment a challenge to Bengali pride and wisdom.
Modi held responsible the 34 years of Left Front rule followed by the five-year Trinamool regime for “ruining Bengal” and urged the people to give one opportunity to the Bharatiya Janata Party to turn the state around and take it to heights of development.
Addressing his maiden election rally in the state ahead of the assembly polls, the prime minister said that while the industrial scene was bleak, bomb-making factories thrived in villages, with the Banerjee government giving a free run to the criminals in exchange for the miscreants ensuring votes for the ruling party during elections.
He launched a direct attack on Banerjee, saying she no more cared for the state.
“Five years back, I had been hearing of ‘poriborton’ (change). I also thought change will come (in West Bengal). Change did come, but it came in didi’s (elder sister – as Banerjee is affectionately called), nature, her motives, her manner of work. But Bengal did not experience any change.
“As an opposition leader, she used to fight on the streets. But that Mamata didi changed so much that she does not care for anybody. She has become a shahenshah. Such a change is not desirable in democracy,” Modi said, addressing a huge turnout in this town in West Midnapore district.
Modi also came down heavily on the Banerjee-led Trinamool by referring to the Saradha chit fund scam and the purported sting operation carried out by the Narada News portal that showed several Trinamool leaders, including former unions ministers, current state ministers, MPs allegedly taking money.
Asking the people whether they had brought the Trinamool Congress to power in 2011 to see them go neck deep in corruption, the prime minister said: “First, there was Saradha, now Narada. In Narada, the entire leadership (some even said) when will you give the next instalment?”
“Did you want such a poriborton? That they will take bundles of notes before the camera?”
“This is your money, this is the money of the janta janardan (people), which has been looted, and is now been distributed.”
Drawing a contrast with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the centre, Modi said: “I am also in power in Delhi for almost two years. But has there been even one spot on us? Has there been even one rupee of graft?”
Modi asserted that he would rather prefer to go hungry than “steal from people’s pockets”.
Turning to the poll adjustment between the Congress and the Left Front, the prime minister said: “The Congress and the Communists have challenged Bengalis’ wisdom. Bengalis will not pardon them.”
He said that while the Congress and the Communists were fighting one another in Kerala, they joined hands in Bengal.
“Kerala me kushti, or Bengal me dosti (they wrestle in Kerala, but are friends in Bengal). Is it not an insult to Bengali pride?” asked Modi.
The prime minister alleged that the Left Front and the Communists were trying to keep their relations “behind the curtains” in Bengal, and said that if these parties had the guts “they should have openly said they are opportunists, who are only interested in capturing power, and not bothered about Kerala or Bengal”.
Modi said the Congress, Left Front and Trinamool were united in their opposition to the BJP.
“We have not yet reached the Bengal assembly, but they are already afraid of us. Did the Left and the Congress launch any movement against didi? Only BJP did, and so our workers were beaten, killed, jailed.”
Modi said there was a time when Bengal was the leader in industrialisation. “But while the Left Front broke the back of the industries, Banerjee has sent the state to the grave in this respect”.