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Tradition and heritage of West Bengal under threat: Modi

July 16, 2018 22:15 IST

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated during Krishi Kalyan Sabha rally in Midnapore on Monday. Photograph: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a no-holds-barred attack against the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, charging it with 'throttling democracy' and running a 'syndicate raj' without whose approval nothing moves.

Addressing a 'Kisan Kalyan' rally in Midnapore, the prime minister also reached out to farmers and said his government was working to double their incomes by 2022.

The people of West Bengal will get freedom from the 'misrule' of the Trinamool Congress within a few months, Modi said at the farmers' welfare rally in an apparent reference to the coming general elections.

The rally was marred by the collapse of a makeshift tent put up at the venue. Officials said 67 people, including 13 women, were injured.

Mounting an all out attack against the TMC government, Modi, who later visited the injured in hospital, said nothing can be achieved without the approval of the 'syndicate' in West Bengal.

 

Referring to TMC posters with photographs of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee around the rally venue, Modi said, "Even the TMC cannot deny our achievements. They have put up posters of Didi (Mamata) with folded hands welcoming the prime minister."

In a counter attack, the TMC alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was running a syndicate that 'peddles religious terrorism' and accused Modi of spreading 'misinformation' against its government in West Bengal.

The BJP was running a syndicate of 'fanaticism, lynching, torture, notebandi and corruption', said a statement, jointly issued by TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee and its leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O' Brien.

"Try as you may to harass us with your agencies, we will not bow down to any BJP syndicate. Bengal is for all. It is the cultural capital of the world. The BJP leaders speech proved that they have no development agenda at all," it said.

According to Modi, the TMC's 'political syndicate' rules in the land of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Jana-Gana-Mana' and pursues appeasement and vote bank politics.

The TMC government, he said, is operating syndicates to run chit funds, take away the benefits of the farmers and unleash atrocities on the poor.

"The people of Bengal had fought hard against the misrule of the Left Front. It took some time. Within a few months, the people of Bengal will get freedom from the misrule of the TMC. People are just waiting for an opportunity," Modi said at the farmers' rally.

"We all know the condition of West Bengal under the present regime. Those who spoke of Maa, Mati, Manush (the TMC slogan) have been completely exposed. They are running syndicates. Democracy is being throttled and brutalized in the state."

Modi said puja rituals as well as the tradition and heritage of West Bengal are under threat.

"If you want to start a new business or do any work you have to pay the syndicate. Investments have stopped coming to Bengal. The people are frustrated and fed up with this government," he said.

Referring to the recent allegations of extortion from students for admission in colleges, Modi said the TMC has ruined the state further, after the 34-year Left rule.

Discussing panchayat polls and violence in the state, the prime minister said he salutes the people for coming out in support of the BJP in huge numbers 'despite the reign of terror let loose by the TMC'.

"Our Dalit workers have been killed one by one. But yet the people of the state stood against the violence. This only speaks of the bright future of the state," he said, referring to the killing of three Dalit men in Purulia district recently.

He said the people of Tripura had brought about change in their state with courage and determination. In West Bengal, too, people can defeat the syndicate, he asserted.

Questioning the utilisation of central funds by the state government, Modi said not a single paise was spent without the nod of the TMC's syndicate.

"The TMC does not have faith in democracy or in the election process of the country. They don't have faith in the judiciary either," he said.

Labelling his administration a 'government of farmers', Modi told the rally that his government was their government and the previous regimes did not work for their development.

Several commissions were set up to look into the issue of increasing MSP (minimum support price) but nothing happened, he said, adding, "Farmers are the soul of India. A country can't develop fully until and unless there is development of farmers."

"Our government works for farmers... from quality seeds to market. It is important to have warehouses to save the produce," he said.

Speaking about the increase in the MSP for paddy and other kharif crops, he said the central government had hiked the price per quintal of jute, which would help the jute growers of Bengal.
After addressing the rally, the prime minister went to the hospital to meet those injured in the collapse of a makeshift tent at the grounds.

According to officials, Modi saw the tent collapsing while he was in the middle of his speech.

He immediately instructed special protection group (SPG) personnel standing near him to look after the people and attend to the injured.

The local BJP unit as well as Modi's personal staff, including his doctor and SPG personnel, swung into action to help the injured, officials said.

TMC dubbed Modi's remarks about his government 'working to double farmers' income by 2022' as an old but 'yet-to-be fulfilled' promise made years ago by the BJP.

The ruling party in West Bengal also sought to know how the prime minister is going to fulfil the promise, even as it claimed that the income of farmers in West Bengal has more than tripled in the past seven years under the TMC rule.

Pradipta Tapadar
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