A day after the interim budget was announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday kickstarted BJP’s election campaign in West Bengal’s Thakurnagar by hailing the measures proposed by the NDA government as ‘historic’ for farmers and the middle class. The PM also pitched for the Citizenship Amendment Bill, urging the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) to support the contentious bill in the Rajya Sabha.
“Pather Panchali of Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, was not only adapted for a masterpiece cinema but showed the picture of villages of Bengal with poverty and unemployment. Unfortunately several decades after independence, the picture remains unchanged and in West Bengal. Our government in the last four-and-a-half years had made an honest effort to alleviate the situation,” Modi, who was speaking at a public meeting at Thakurnagar organized by All India Matua Mahasangha, said.
“On Friday, a historic step was undertaken for the first time for farmers and the middle class. Lakhs of farmers with small holdings would benefit along with over three crore people that fall in the middle-income group. Every year, Rs 6,000 will go directly to the accounts of the farmers. They will get Rs 2,000 in three installments each. There will be no syndicates, no touts, no middlemen. The money will go directly to the bank accounts. You will get the first installments shortly. This will help farmers with small land holdings to get seeds, fertilizers and they will earn more,” Modi said.
The PM also attacked the loan waiver policy of Congress in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, alleging that such announcements which are made before the polls are meant to dupe the citizens.
“In Madhya Pradesh, reports surfaced that those who had not taken loans were getting a loan waiver. In Rajasthan, they had expressed their helplessness saying that they had no idea the cost would come to such a stupendous amount. Even in Karnataka, the Congress has been politicising these issues and they have the full support of TMC,” Modi alleged.
He added that post-independence, the country was divided into several parts and even then, people from different parts have been a victim of communalism.
“People belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Parsee and Jain communities had fled places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Should not they be given citizenship here? That is why we have brought in the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament and I want to ask TMC to support it so that it can be passed easily and people can get their rights,” Modi said.
The PM had to cut short his speech as pandemonium in the crowd erupted and a stampede-like situation broke out at the venue, causing injuries to a dozen people, mostly women.