Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today at an election rally in West Bengal that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would appoint a “bhumiputra” as the chief minister after it wins the state election. He said he would attend the swearing-in ceremony in remarks that came in the backdrop of the Trinamool Congress (AITC)’s criticism that the BJP was a party of the “bahiragata (outsiders)”. While “putra” literally means a son, it is used in the general sense to refer to either gender.
At a rally in Sonarpur in District South 24-Parganas, Prime Minister Modi sharpened his criticism of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying that she would lose the high-profile Nandigram seat and that she was planning to contest the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat after “sensing defeat” in Bengal.
Prime Minister Modi, who has been a two-term MP from Varanasi, stressed that the people in the ancient city are large-hearted, though Chief Minister Banerjee might find have to tolerate hearing them chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The slogan has emerged as a bone of contention in the poll season, with the BJP accusing the chief minister of intolerance for Hindus, an allegation that she has tried to counter, brandishing her ‘Shandilya’ gotra and Brahmin caste, a goofed-up attempt at Chandipath, etc.
The statements of the prime minister appear to be a response to the AITC telling him, after he had earlier this week asked Banerjee to clarify whether she was seeking a safe second seat, to focus on Varanasi instead. The BJP believes it will trump the chief minister in the high-profile Nandigram constituency that has turned anti-incumbent due to the ill-gotten riches of some panchayat samiti members of the AITC and the kin of victims of police and ‘Harmad’ action against activists of the 2007 land movement. ‘Harmad’ is a colloquial term coined locally, inspired by the Spanish Armada, which refers to communist henchmen.
“It is sure that Didi (as Banerjee is popularly called) is losing…when the BJP will form the government in Bengal, I will personally come here to attend the swearing-in ceremony. The next chief minister in Bengal will be a bhumiputra. I would like to tell government officials to prepare a list of beneficiaries of central schemes in areas where the voting is over in the first two phases so that there should not be any delay in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT),” Prime Minister Modi said.