Inaugurating a string of projects in the poll-bound states of West Bengal and Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday stepped up his attack against the Mamata Banerjee-led government in Bengal and said the BJP would bring “real poribortan (change)” to the state.
Addressing a public meeting at Dunlop Ground in Hooghly district, Modi said, “This time Bengal has made up its mind for poriborton (change) and the BJP will bring ashol poriborton (real change) in Bengal. It is impossible to develop the state as long as there is tolabaaz (extortion), syndicate and cut (money) culture. It cannot take place as long as the administration shields the goons. We have to ensure law and order. Aar noy anyay, amraa ashol poriborton chai (no more injustice, we want real change).” This is Modi’s second visit to Bengal this month.
Sharpening his attack on the Trinamool government, the PM accused it of failing to provide drinking water to the people of Bengal.
“The Centre had sanctioned Rs 1,700 crore for Bengal under Jal Shakti Abhiyan but only Rs 609 crore has been spent. They (the TMC government) are holding on to the rest of the money… Can you forgive the people who are doing this great injustice to the daughters of Bengal?” the PM asked.
The statement is seen as a swipe at the ruling party’s new election slogan ‘Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye (Bengal wants its own daughter)’, which pitches Mamata Banerjee in that role.
Earlier, in Assam, where he inaugurated an engineering college and laid the foundation stone for another, besides launching other projects related to the energy sector, Modi said elections would probably be announced in the first week of March and he would try his best to visit poll-bound states before the announcement.
Speaking at a public event in Dhemaji in Assam, Modi said, “Last time, elections were announced on March 4. This time also, I see that it will be announced any time in the first week of March. Election Commission will do that. But I will try to visit Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry as many times as possible before elections are announced. If we consider March 7 as the date of election announcement — because last time it was March 4, so this time also it can be around that time — I will constantly try to keep visiting you before that.”
This was the PM’s third visit to poll-bound Assam in a month.
While refusing to comment on the text of the PM’s speech, a highly placed source in the Election Commission told The Indian Express, “Whenever elections are announced, the citizens of the country are the first to know the same through the media. This is an established practice. The EC has been scrupulously following it and the same shall be done this time too.”
Taking on the Opposition, Modi, in his rally at Dhemaji, said that though the Northeast has great potential, earlier governments did not do enough. “Those who ruled the country for decades thought Dispur is very far from Delhi… and Assam suffered a lot… Delhi is not far now, Delhi is now at your doorstep,” said Modi.
The PM said the people of Assam would soon get another chance to strengthen the “double-engine” (BJP-led governments at the Centre and state).
In Bengal, the PM inaugurated a host of infrastructure projects, including a 4.1-km extension of Kolkata Metro’s North-South Line from Noapara to Dakshineswar.
The Prime Minister also flagged off a train from Noapara to Dakshineswar.
Earlier, addressing a public meeting at Dunlop Ground, Modi said the Centre’s priority would be to usher in infrastructure projects in Bengal.
“Today, West Bengal is taking a big step to prove its resolve for fast development. Last time, I came here to give you the gift of gas connectivity and infrastructure projects. Today, important works to strengthen rail and metro connectivity are going to be inaugurated,” he said.
In Assam, the PM inaugurated the INDMAX unit at Indian Oil’s Bongaigaon refinery, which leverages indigenously developed technology to produce higher LPG and high-octane gasoline yield from heavy feedstock.
He also inaugurated the Dhemaji Engineering College, the seventh government engineering college in the state. —With inputs from ENS, Delhi