Madarihat/Asansol/Siliguri (West Bengal), April 7 (IANS) Terming the Kolkata flyover collapse tragedy an “act of fraud”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made corruption the centre-piece of his no-holds-barred attack against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Addressing three well-attended election meetings in northern and southern parts of the state, he also ridiculed the Congress-Left alliance, citing Banerjee’s “closeness” to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the two parties’ long history of political rivalry and bitterness.
In each of the rallies at Madarihat in Alipurduar district, Asansol of Burdwan district, and Darjeeling district’s Siliguri, Modi spoke at length on the March 31 flyover collapse in north Kolkata, coined a new term “scientific corruption”, raised the Saradha scam and Narada sting operation and alleged a “reign of terror” was prevailing in the state.
Focussing on local issues relevant to the venues of his rallies, on his second round of campaign during the ongoing assembly polls, he appealed to the people to give one opportunity to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Accusing Banerjee of doing politics over dead bodies after the flyover came down taking 26 lives, Modi said: “The first thing she did was to declare that it was the Left Front that gave the contract (for the project).
“Forget left or right, at least give respect to the dead; but for Didi, it’s the chair which is only visible and not the dying people. This is all part of your business of money and death.”
Calling the tragedy an “act of fraud”, Modi said: “It is God’s message to you all is to save Bengal.”
Modi said when he was young, he was told the Leftists used to win the elections in Bengal by resorting to “scientific rigging”.
“Now in didi’s regime, I see scientific corruption,” he claimed, adding the awarding of tenders for government jobs were decided even before they were floated.
In his characteristic style, Modi expanded TMC (abbreviation of Trinamool Congress) as “Terror, Maut (death) and Corruption”, and said Banerjee has now “adjusted to corruption”.
“Shouldn’t you teach a lesson to didi? Today, despite the Narada sting footage that showed wads of cash being given… Did didi take any steps? This shows Mamata has adjusted to corruption.”
Taking a dig at Trinamool’s slogan of ‘Maa Maati Manush’ (mother, land, people),Modi said during the five years of Banerjee’s rule, ‘maut’ was the only thing heard of.
He also charged Banerjee with undermining the welfare of the state by not attending meets convened by the central government.
Pointing to Banerjee’s “closeness” to Sonia Gandhi, Modi pooh-poohed the LF-Congress tie up.
“She doesn’t come to Delhi to attend meetings called by Modi. But whenever she comes to Delhi, she never forgets to meet Sonia Gandhi,” he alleged.
The prime minister urged people to listen to video footages of the abuses that the Congress leaders hurled at the Left in West Bengal five years back.
Modi said that the Congress government at the centre had invoked the constitution’s article 356 in 1959 to dismiss the Communist-led government under E.M.S. Namboodiripad – the first non-Congress chief minister in independent India.
Describing the tie-up as a “betrayal” of the people, he said: “If you have ideological differences, then the differences should be there both in Kerala and Bengal.
“But see the magic. I don’t understand this kushti (wrestling) in Kerala, and the dosti (friendship) in Bengal. Can you depend on such people? Are they not hoodwinking you?” he asked.
At the tea belt of Madarihat, Modi derided the state government for neglecting the welfare of tea estate workers, and alleged a nexus between the Trinamool and the estate owners.
In the coal belt of Asansol, he blamed the erstwhile Left Front government for starting the syndicates – that supply materials for buildings or other projects and are regarded as a menace for intimidating individuals and companies carrying out some constructions – and alleged these were linked to the coal mafiosi.
At Siliguri, the prime minister, referring to neighbouring Sikkim, said: “Your neighbouring state Sikkim has become an organic state, but despite natural resources, this region has not developed. The Bengal government here at least can learn from Sikkim.”