Sounding the poll bugle in West Bengal months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stepped up attack on the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government and accused it of killing the aspirations of the middle-class people in the state.
Addressing a rally in Durgapur, PM Modi said, “Every child in West Bengal is aware of the TTT- Trinamool Tola Baazi Tax. West Bengal is the only state where you have to pay tax for education.” In local parlance, ‘tolabaji’ is roughly understood as an act of organised extortion.
Castigating the Mamata government for opting out from the Ayushman Bharat Yojana (PMJAY) scheme, PM Modi said, “West Bengal could have been the largest beneficiary of Ayushman Bharat. But the local government snatched it from the poor people of Bengal, a government which betrays the poor can never benefit anyone. Those who play with the lives of the poor should be punished.”
The prime minister said that the Centre is making efforts to develop infrastructure in the state and crores of rupees have been allocated for several railway projects in West Bengal. He also alleged that the TMC government isn’t serious about the state’s development.
“The Centre has approved infrastructure projects worth Rs 90,000 crore in the past four and a half years for the state but the TMC government did not take interest in implementing them as it wanted a share for the “syndicate”, the government can’t help Bengal to grow because of the growth opposing TMC government,” PM Modi said.
Earlier, in his rally in Thakurnagar–a hub of the sizeable and influential Matua community, PM Modi, when greeted with loud cheers, said, “Now I can understand why Didi (Mamata Banerjee) and her party are indulging in violence…killing innocent people. She has become jittery because of your love for us.”
He also made a strong pitch for the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, insisting it would bring “justice and respectability” to those who faced religious persecution.
“India got Independence after splitting it into pieces. People thought they can make a living in the country of their choice, but there they faced atrocities and torture because of communal malice…Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis.”
“It was because of this that we brought the Citizenship Bill. These people have no place to go other than India. Should they not be given justice and respectability? I ask the TMC to support the Bill and facilitate its passage in Parliament,” he said.
Though, an hour after PM Modi’s rally, CM Mamata asserted that her opposition to the Citizenship bill remains unwavering and that the central government should withdraw it.
Reiterating the schemes for farmers during by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal during his budget speech, the PM said that the interim budget is a reflection of the BJP’s policy of Sabka Saath Saabka Vikas.
“More than 12 crore families of small farmers, 30-40 crore workers and 3 crore middle-class families will directly benefit from the schemes announced in the budget yesterday,” said Modi.
“This is just the beginning, the main budget after the Lok Sabha election will have much more for the youth, farmers, and other sections of the society,” PM Modi said in Thakurnagar.
PM Modi had to cut short his speech at Thakurnagar after a stampede-like situation broke out at the venue leading to injuries to several persons. Repeated attempts by him to calm down the edgy crowd fell on deaf ears as people began throwing chairs inside the no-man zone in front of the dais. As the situation threatened to get uglier, Modi ended his speech within 14 minutes and left the venue.
The PM later apologised for the situation in his rally in Durgapur.
(Inputs from PTI)