Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 7 March made a double jibe at West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee over her ride on a two-wheeler last week to protest against rising fuel prices. His remark came in the backdrop of the chief minister trying to ride an electric scooter in Kolkata last week. While riding the two-wheeler, she lost balance and security personnel around her helped her regain it and she continued the ride.
“Glad that you didn’t fall off the scooty, otherwise you would have made the state where it was manufactured your enemy,” Modi said during a poll rally in Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground.
Modi’s other reference was to her formal announcement two days ago that she would be contesting from the Nandigram constituency instead of her traditional seat of Bhawanipore. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Banerjee’s former aide Suvendu Adhikari, who recently parted ways from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). “We don’t want anyone to get hurt. But your scooty landed in Nandigram instead of going to Bhawanipore, nothing can’t be done now,” he said.
The Prime Minister accused the Bengal government of failing to fulfil the promises of development and assured the people that if the BJP comes to power that “everything that was taken away from Bengal will be returned.” With the party’s ‘Ashol Poriborton’ pitch this election in the eastern state, Modi promised to bring development and gave an assurance that the state would progress.
Taking a dig at TMC’s ‘Khela Hobe’ poll pitch, the Prime Minister said, “Didi must listen to this voice that is erupting and saying – “TMC’er khela sesh” (TMC’s game is over). Development begins!”
A fierce war of words between the BJP and TMC is on in the state as it is set to witness the assembly election in eight phases starting 27 March.
Modi: People may feel it is already 2 May
Modi attacked the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government, saying it broke the promise of bringing change in the state.
“Mamata Banerjee broke her of promise of bringing change in West Bengal. The state wants progress and peace. People here want ashol poriborton,” said Modi, adding, “All that was snatched away from Bengal will be given back.”
“This Brigade Parade Ground has been witness to many great leaders and also witnessed those who have disrupted West Bengal’s progress. People of Bengal never left their hopes for change,” said PM Modi, starting his address with the chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.
Lauding the huge turnout at the rally, the Prime Minister said it looks like today is 2 May (the day election results will be announced).
“The dream of ‘sonar bangla’ will be fulfilled. Today, I have come here today to assure you of Bengal’s development, to increase investment here, to protect Bengal’s culture and to bring change,” said the Prime Minister.
He promised developing West Bengal and its capital Kolkata into a ‘city of future’. “The ‘City of Joy’ can be turned into ‘City of Future’. A few days ago, the list of cities came out which ranked them on the basis of ease of living. If NDA government comes to power, we will make sure the infrastructure in Kolkata is given the required push so that it ranks on top in the list,” said Modi.
This is Modi’s first poll rally since the Election Commission announced the schedule of upcoming polls in West Bengal and other states. He was welcomed by actor Mithun Chakraborty, who joined the BJP just ahead of the rally, and party leader Dilip Ghosh.
The election is Bengal will be held in eight phases between 27 March and 29 April. Counting of votes will take place on 2 May.