Prime Minister Narendra Modi told an election rally at Sonamura, near Agartala, on Thursday that people should throw away the “Manik” (gemstone) and choose the “HIRA” (diamond). He was referring to the BJP’s promise of highways, internet, roadways and airways, as opposed to the “era of darkness” under the Left.
Attacking the Manik Sarkar government during his maiden rally for the Tripura elections, Modi said: “It is as if an astrologer has given you a Manik (gemstone) to wear and it has turned out to be the wrong Manik. So while the country develops, achhe din has never come to Tripura. It is time to take off the wrong Manik and instead I offer you a HIRA — Highway, I-way, Railway and Airways.”
Stating that the BJP was fighting this election on the platform of “Transformation through Transportation”, the PM said, “We will make sure that you have all the facilities of better roads across the state and highways to link you to the rest of India. We will make sure there are more trains and rail tracks and a better airport. It was Vajpayee who started the DONER ministry because he knew how important the Northeast was. If Tripura doesn’t develop, the country’s development remains lopsided….The different communities of Tripura will be taken care of and we will preserve their individual cultures and character.”
Modi said the people in Tripura were oppressed and living in fear. “For the last 25 years you have been living in a mayajaal (illusion)… People outside have only been shown the white kurta and the bank account. But they don’t know of the black deeds that have taken place here. It is time to bring Tripura out of an era of darkness and on to the path of progress…. Do the farmers get their fair share?… Do the mazdoors get basic rights? The Communists have been sitting here for 25 years but have not done anything to benefit anyone but have rather taken away the dignity of people,” he said.
“People of Tripura are so oppressed and so afraid of them that they cannot demand anything or raise their voice…. Democracy is only seen during elections, not during governance…. Their tradition is to run the state with a stick.”
He said the BJP government would digitise all information. “So you have no reason to fear anymore. People stay quiet here out of fear that if they criticise the government or raise demands, then they will lose their jobs. For them the government and the party are the same. If this government is so clean,
I would like to know what this Rose Valley is? Tripura’s poor were looted to fund this. People have killed themselves because of this scam. Does this government not need to be punished?
“You have to go to the ‘lal salaam’ people before you go to the police to lodge a complaint. Even for ration you need permission from the Communists. This is the slavery of the new era,” Modi said.
Amid cries of “Modi Modi’’ and “Chalo Paltai” (let’s bring change, the BJP’s poll slogan), the PM said the rest of the country could not imagine the “revolution” that was taking place for a change in government. “A new era of development awaits Tripura. This is the land of Devi Tripura and I fold my hands before her…. I fold my hands before the Maharajas like Bir Bikram of Tripura,’’ he said. In an earlier visit, BJP chief Amit Shah had said the party planned to name the Agartala airport after the Maharaja, and would confer the Bharat Ratna on him.
The PM said, “This election is not being fought by the BJP. This election is not even being fought by its allies like the IPFT. It is being fought by the people of Tripura. The youth are fighting this election to ensure they have jobs. The state employees are fighting it so that they can get the Seventh Pay Commission.”
The tea grown in Tripura is very famous, he said, adding that three more Ts have to be adopted for prosperity and development: “T for trade, T for tourism and T for training, especially for the youth, are the need of the hour.”