On the last leg of his whirlwind visit to three northeast states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Tripura on Saturday afternoon and advocated his model of HIRA (H for highway, I for Internet way, R for roadways and A for Airways) and stated development activities are touching new heights under the BJP-led government in the state.
In his address in Agartala, the prime minister claimed that his government left “no stone unturned” for the development of the state and northeast India. “Sufficient funds were provided to Tripura in the last 4.5 years. Those funds were not properly utilized due to the attitude of the previous government. The incumbent government is taking the development of Tripura to newer heights,” PM Modi said.
The PM’s rally was held amidst boycott called by three CPI (M) MLAs and few tribal parties over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was recently cleared in the Lok Sabha. Besides, three CPI (M) MPs boycotted the rally, saying the proposed bill would harm interests of the region and pose threat to the secular spirit of the country if it is passed in the Rajya Sabha.
PM Modi claimed that the NDA government at the Centre has lived up to its promises of HIRA made before 2018 assembly elections in Tripura. He mentioned the Agartala-Sabroom National Highway, second terminal under construction at Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport, new express trains like Humsafar and Deoghar Express are part of the HIRA model of development. He also said that newer employment avenues would open due to these initiatives and investment potential would dramatically rise in Tripura.
He criticized Tripura’s erstwhile CPI (M)-led Left Front government saying they could not ensure purchase of paddy from farmers at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in their long regime despite tall talks about farmer welfare and appealed people to “identity” and “unmask” them. He also took a swipe at the grand alliance coming together under the leadership of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, calling it an “adulterated alliance”.
The prime minister earlier landed at MBB airport in the afternoon and unveiled a life-size statue of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur, the last reigning king of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty. He later inaugurated a new complex of Tripura Institute of Technology (TIT) in West Tripura and a 23.5 km stretch of a railway line from Garjee to Belonia in South Tripura.
In his own style, the PM spoke a few words in Bengali and Kokborok and pledged to make Tripura one of the best states in the country. “Development of Tripura was halted by terming it land-locked but we will transform it into the gateway of South East Asian countries”, he claimed. However, the poor presence of tribals marked the rally today and galleries were seen partially vacant during the PM’s speech.
Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma welcomed the PM in his welcome address during the rally. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb discussed key achievements of his government during the last 11 months and said Northeast India has reduced the “distance of hearts” with New Delhi under the leadership of Modi. “People of Northeast India used to previously feel Delhi is on another planet. The geographical distance is still the same but distance of hearts has considerably reduced during the Modi government’s rule”, Biplab said.