On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up his assault on the Mamata Banerjee-led government in Bengal by launching a series of projects in the poll-bound states of West Bengal and Assam, saying that the BJP would bring the state “real poribortan (change).”
Addressing a public meeting in Hooghly district at Dunlop Field, 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 this month to Bengal.
In sharpening his attack on the government of Trinamool, the PM accused it of failing to provide the people of Bengal with drinking water.
“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 declaration is seen as a slap at the new election slogan ‘Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye (Bengal wants its own daughter)’ of the ruling party, which positions Mamata Banerjee in that role.
Earlier, in Assam, where he opened an engineering college and laid the foundation stone for another, in addition to launching other energy-related ventures, Modi said that elections would likely be declared in the first week of March and that he would try his best before the announcement to visit poll-bound states.
Speaking in Assam at a public event in Dhemaji, 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 third visit by the PM in a month to poll-bound Assam.
Although refusing to comment on the text of the PM’s speech, The Indian Express was informed by a highly placed source at the Election Commission, “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.”
In his rally at Dhemaji, Taking on the Opposition, Modi said that while 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 Assam people will soon have another chance to reinforce the “double-engine” (BJP-led governments at the Centre and state).
The PM has initiated a host of infrastructure projects in Bengal, including a 4.1-km extension of the North-South Line of the Kolkata Metro from Noapara to Dakshineswar.
A train from Noapara to Dakshineswar was also flagged off by the Prime Minister.
Earlier, speaking at a public meeting at the Dunlop Ground, Modi said the focus of the Centre will be to initiate 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.
At Indian Oil’s Bongaigaon refinery, PM inaugurated the INDMAX unit in Assam, which leverages indigenously developed technology to produce higher LPG and high-octane gasoline yields from heavy feedstock.
He also opened the seventh government engineering college in the state, the Dhemaji Engineering College.