Updated: February 8, 2021 7:19:53 am
In two speeches in election-bound Assam and West Bengal on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged there was an “international conspiracy” to “defame India and spoil its image”, and that these conspirators were targeting tea garden workers and denigrating yoga.
“You would have seen in the news, the kind of international conspiracies that are coming to light these days. Ab toh iss baat ki planning ki ja rahi hai ki kaise Bharat ko badnaam karna hai, kaise Bharat ki chhavi ko bigaadna hai,” the Prime Minister said at a meeting of party workers in Haldia in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district.
“…Bharat ko badnaam karne ke liye wo chai se judi Bharat ki pehchaan par hamla karne ki baat kar rahe hain. Tea workers ki kadi mehnat par hamla karne ka shadyantra kiya ja raha hai. Yog jaisi Bharat ki virasat…par hamla kiya jaa raha hai. (To defame India, there are attacks on India’s identity linked with tea; there is a conspiracy to attack the hard work of tea workers. There are attacks on the Indian tradition of yoga.)”
In Dhekiajuli in Assam’s Sonitpur district, where he laid the foundation stones of two medical college-hospitals and launched a project to construct state highways and major district roads, Modi said no one could appreciate the special taste of Assam tea better than him.
“The conspiracy to defame the country has reached such levels that they are not even leaving Assam tea alone. The conspirators are saying that they will denigrate the image of Assam tea all over the world… Some documents have come to light which reveal that powers sitting in foreign lands want to attack the association of tea with India,” he said.
Soon after the PM spoke, senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma posted on Twitter a “Toolkit shared by Greta”, along with a video of Modi, titled “PM Modi’s response”. An item in the “toolkit”, purportedly shared by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, read “Disrupt ‘yoga & chai’ image of India in general”.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 7, 2021
In Assam, the PM asked his audience: “Do you accept such an attack? Do you accept the attackers? Do you accept those who are praising the attackers?”
Such conspiracies will not be allowed to succeed, he said. “Our tea workers will win this fight. These attacks on Indian tea do not have the strength to face the hard work of our tea garden workers.”
In Bengal, Modi launched a no-holds-barred attack against the Mamata Banerjee government, accusing it of corruption and of thwarting the development of West Bengal by opposing the Centre’s policies and schemes.
Using a football analogy, he said that the people would show the Ram Card (red card) to the Trinamool Congress for committing several fouls, including misgovernance, violence, corruption and attacks on beliefs.
Those who speak of ‘Ma, mati, manush’ do not have the courage to speak up for Bharat Mata because they have “criminalised politics, institutionalised corruption, and politicised the administration and police”, he said.
“The rampant corruption, stopping of central schemes from reaching the poor, and the increasing woes of the people… If you ask Didi about your rights in Bengal, she gets angry. She even gets angry with slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai,” Modi said.
Later, Modi inaugurated the LPG import terminal built by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Dobhi-Durgapur Natural Gas Pipeline section of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project and a Four-Lane road overbridge-cum-flyover at Ranichak in Haldia.
In Dhekiajuli, the PM announced there would soon be colleges of medical and technical education in which the medium of instruction will be the local language. From the time of Independence to 2016, Assam had only six medical colleges, he said, “but in last five years (of the BJP government), Assam has added six more medical colleges”.
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