Bengal has brought together the nation through 'Vande Mataram', and on this land, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was terming people "bohiragoto" (outsider), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, announcing that if voted to power, a son of the soil will be made the Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister of the state.
Addressing an election rally in Kanthi in the Purba Medinipur district, Modi said that Bengal was the land of icons like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose and on this land, no Indian was an outsider.
"Bengal brought together the people of India through Vande Mataram, and on that land, Mamata-didi is talking about 'bohiragoto'. No Indian is an outsider here, they are the children of Bharat Mata," he said.
"We are being called 'tourists', fun is being made of us, we are being insulted. Didi, people of Rabindranath's Bengal don't consider anybody outsider," Modi added.
When the BJP forms government in Bengal, the chief minister will be a son of the soil, he said at the rally amid loud cheers from his supporters.
Modi's comments came amid an "insider vs outsider" debate with Banerjee asserting regularly that she won't allow Bengal to be ruled by "outsiders" from Delhi or Gujarat, in a reference to the BJP and the prime minister.
The Trinamool Congress has even launched the 'Bangla Nijer Meyeke Chaye' (Bengal wants its own daughter) campaign, with party leaders calling BJP functionaries visiting the state as "election tourists".
The prime minister said that Banerjee insulted the people of Nandigram with false accusations, and people would give her a befitting reply.
"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, apparently referring to the March 10 incident in which the chief minister was injured.
Banerjee had alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to attack her ahead of the elections to derail her poll campaign.
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.
“We (Centre) had sent relief for the Amphan affected areas. But the funds were looted through the 'Bhaipo (nephew) window'," he said, attacking TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of the chief minister.
The prime minister said that Banerjee was talking about 'Duare Sarkar' (government at doorstep), while she will be shown the door on May 2.
The popular 'Duare Sarkar' programme was launched by Banerjee's government months ahead of the election, delivering services through special camps at neighbourhoods.
The chief minister has also promised that she will ensure doorstep delivery of ration, if voted to power for the third time.
The prime minister was campaigning in Kanthi, the backyard of the influential Adhikari family, members of which have switched over to the BJP from TMC ahead of the elections.
Modi alleged that the TMC government brought in "darkness" in Bengal with sounds of "bomb blasts and gunfire” ringing in the air frequently.
"Violence and bomb blasts are reported from here regularly. Even, whole houses are blown up by explosions. We have to change this situation," he said, promising that his party will work towards making the state "Sonar Bangla".
"Bengal needs peace, stability, freedom from bombs, guns and violence. The Trinamool government has only given darkness to Bengal. BJP's double-engine government will usher in Sonar Bangla," he said.
Modi alleged that Banerjee was hurling abuses if asked for a report on the work done in the last ten years.
"In a democracy, there can be victory and defeat. But when you ask for "hisaab" (report) on what the TMC government has done in the last ten years, abuses are being hurled at us," he claimed.
"In neighbouring Assam, there is an NDA government for the last five years. There has been peace and stability in these five years. Those who chose the path of separatism have returned to the mainstream. Bengal also needs peace and stability, and BJP will do it," he said.
In a dig at Banerjee's 'Khela Hobe' slogan, Modi said no more game will be played and people will be served when the BJP forms government in the state.
"Apni khela korun, amra sheba korbo. khela noy, sheba hobe," Modi said in Bengali, which means 'you continue to play, while we will serve the people'.
Assailing the state government over PM-Kisan, Modi said farmers of the state would not forgive the TMC for depriving them of the financial aid.
Listing out various developmental projects for industrial town Haldia and the coastal areas in the district, Modi said syndicates and corruption have ruined West Bengal's coastal ecosystem.
"Haldia's economy has been destroyed. It is time to free our coastal people from 'cut money' culture and corruption, and it depends on the power of your votes," he said.
The BJP's "double-engine" government will make Haldia an important centre for exports and imports, Modi said.
"The Centre is taking steps to modernise the Petuaghat Fishing Harbour. The coastline has immense economic opportunities associated with tourism," he said.
Elections to the 294 assembly seats in West Bengal will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.