Updated: March 24, 2021 4:47:08 pm
Countering West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to portray BJP as a party comprising of “outsiders”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said no Indian can be an outsider in Bengal and the saffron party, if voted to power, will ensure that the CM is a “son of the soil”.
Speaking at an election rally at Kanthi in East Midnapore district, Modi said that Bengal had once brought the nation together through ‘Vande Mataram’ but Mamata Banerjee is now terming people as ‘bohiragoto’ (outsiders). “No Indian is an outsider here, they are children of Bharat Mata,” he said.
— BJP Bengal (@BJP4Bengal) March 24, 2021
“We are being called tourists, being made fun of and insulted. Didi, the people of Tagore’s Bengal don’t consider anybody outsiders. The BJP CM will be a son of the soil,” Modi added.
Launching an attack on Banerjee, the Prime Minister further said, “You are maligning Nandigram and its people before the entire country. This is the same Nandigram that gave you so much. The people of Nandigram will not forgive you and will give you a befitting reply,” he said, as a veiled reference to the March 10 incident in which the chief minister was injured.
Nandigram has emerged as a one of the key constituencies this time with the seat set to witness an epic electoral fight between Mamata Banerjee and her protégé-turned-BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari.
Adhikari had earlier called himself the ‘bhoomiputra’ (son of the soil) of Nandigram and called Banerjee an “outsider” there. Days later, Banerjee had shot back that a chief minister can never be an “outsider” in her own state.
Modi said that BJP would make every scheme in the state scam-free and bring in transparency, hitting out at the TMC over ‘cut money’, ‘tolabaji’ (extortion) and ground-level corruption.
Alleging that the relief for Cyclone Amphan was looted through the ‘bhaipo (nephew) window’, the PM said Banerjee, who was talking about ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at doorstep), will be shown the door on May 2.
The “insider vs outsider” debate has emerged as one of the central concerns ahead of the Bengal Assembly polls, with TMC leaders led by Mamata Banerjee trying to portray BJP as a party of “outsiders”.
TMC has been claiming that BJP has no support base in Bengal and the party is bringing in “outsiders” to campaign ahead of the polls. Banerjee has said she would not let the state be “ruled by those from Gujarat”.
TMC MP Derek O’ Brien has recently said that BJP leaders campaigning in Bengal are part of a “tourist gang” who come to the state only ahead of the polls.
Yesterday, the ‘tourist gang’ launched the manifesto for #BengalElection2021
What’s the BJP’s track record: Promises made Versus Promises delivered. Failed. #FactCheck on central government Schemes and Policies for the last 7 years?
They promise. They don’t deliver. pic.twitter.com/pGuFmeHrlu
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) March 22, 2021
TMC had earlier launched a campaign called ‘Bangla Nijer Meye ke Chae’ (Bengal Wants her Own Daughter) to drum up support for Banerjee. The party’s leaders in their speeches and also in their slogans — particularly in ‘Khela hobe’ which was popularized by TMC leaders — have been calling BJP leaders “bargis” and “outsiders”.
While speaking at an election rally at Bishnupur district on Wednesday, Banerjee once again harped on the “outsider” theme to attack the saffron party. She said, “We consider only those pan masala-chewing, tilak-sporting people sent from states like Uttar Pradesh to foment trouble in West Bengal before elections as outsider goons. We will continue to call them as such,” the TMC chief said.
She added, “I have great respect for the PM’s chair, but I am sorry to say that Modi is a big liar.”
Elections to the 294 assembly seats will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.
(With inputs from PTI)
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