Addressing a public rally at Jhargram in place of BJP president Amit Shah due to his ill health, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday said opposition parties have forged a grand alliance “out of fear” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Recently, people of Bengal witnessed a situation where leaders came together on a single platform. They have nothing to do with development. They came together to save themselves and out of fear of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They have forged an alliance to serve their own interests. In the past, they had opposed each other, but have now come together to stall the development of the Modi government,” she added.
The rally was held under the banner of ‘Ganatantra Bachao Yatra’, which the state BJP initiated after it failed to get nods from the state government and Supreme Court for its ‘rath yatras’. Addressing party workers, Irani also targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for forging an alliance with Congress. “I want ask Didi whether she has forgotten the kind of torture CPM and Congress workers had inflicted on her in Kolkata in the past. Then how come you have forged an alliance with them?” she asked.
While the Union minister was slated to speak at another rally in Birbhum’s Suri in place of Amit Shah, she was unable to travel there by helicopter due to “low light” conditions, said a party source.
After Shah’s exit, poor planning steals rally thunder
After Amit Shah had to back out of two crucial rallies — aimed at boosting cadre morale after the rath yatra fiasco — due to health issues, Wednesday saw a logistical failure as organisers planned rallies at two destinations (Jhargram and Birbhum, over 220 km apart) within a time span of just 2 hours (12.30 pm and 2.30 pm respectively). Moreover, after the Jhargram rally began two hours late, light conditions did not permit Irani’s chopper to land at Birbhum as it was nearly dusk, due to which she had to give it a miss.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha alleged that a lot of time was lost as the chopper could not land near the venue and she had to travel 40 km from Kalaikunda by road.
“We had sought permission to land her chopper near the rally venue in Jhargram. But it was not given and we were asked to land the chopper in Kalaikunda, which is far away from Jhargram. It was a conspiracy to kill time,” claimed Sinha.
In response, Trinamool’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal said, “They cancelled their brigade rally but said we are responsible. Amit Shah cancelled his rally but they held us responsible. Now their chopper could not make the landing and yet we are responsible. BJP is just making fun of itself to hide its organisational failure. They are going through a bad phase and must perform a puja to come out of it.”