As regional parties get serious about joining hands and cobbling a Third Front ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Wednesday slammed their effort and ridiculed it saying such an alliance would make India a “third grade” country.
Addressing his first election rally at the historic Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, Modi offered an olive branch to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and appealed to Bengali pride by claiming that the Congress high command had twice in the past denied President Pranab Mukherjee – Pranabda as he referred to him – the opportunity of becoming prime minister.
Modi’s “Janachetna Sabha” was attended by an impressive 2-lakh-plus people and came days after the Trinamool’s mammoth rally at the same venue on January 30.
At that rally, Banerjee had attacked Modi and hinted that he was heading a “government of rioteers”.
But Modi and BJP president Rajnath Singh seemed to ignore her barbs Wednesday as they literally wooed Banerjee with an eye on a possible post-poll alliance.
Modi reminded the cheering crowd that they had already brought “parivartan” to Bengal by voting out the Communists after 35 years.
“But now you have to bring about change at the Centre by giving me as many Lok Sabha seats from the state as possible. Let Mamataji work for development and for change in the state and you should now have a government in Delhi that would enhance and work for development of Bengal.
“You give me a chance to fill up the ‘gadda’ (crater) left behind in the last 35 years. You then have a balance sheet of what parivartan the state government has brought and what parivartan Delhi’s government would have given you. I promise to give a ‘Sonar Bangla’ to you,” Modi said amid thunderous applause.
Trashing for the first time attempts by regional parties to forge a Third Front, Modi said the legacy of the Third Front is evident in the eastern parts of the country. In contrast, the western parts of India have seen some progress and development as the Third Front has not been in existence there.
“Third Front is always striving to make Hindustan third grade and the time has come to isolate them totally from the Indian politics,” he said.
The Gujarat Chief Minister also targeted those raising the issue of secularism when it came to Narendra Modi or his state.
This “secular geet (song)” will be heard particularly from those political “thekedars (contractors)” who are continued…
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.