Modi, Mamata trade barbs at separate poll rallies

Wednesday 24th March 2021 07:23 EDT

KOLKATA/KHARAGPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday launched a frontal attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, alleging her lawmaker nephew Abhishek Banerjee was the only “single window” in the state without crossing which no work gets done. Addressing his second rally in three days in West Bengal, the prime minister said industries were closing down while “syndicate culture and mafia raj” was flourishing.

He also accused the TMC supremo of presiding over an administration full of “tolabaj” (extortionists) and corrupt people. “In Bengal, too, exists a single window.... the single window of ‘Bhaipo’ (nephew) without crossing which no work gets done,” he said without naming Banerjee’s nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee.

Rejecting the outsider tag Mamata Banerjee has given to his party, the prime minister said,” the BJP is the only real party of Bengal. Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded Jana Sangh, the BJP’s forerunner. He was the son of Bengal. Bengal is in BJP’s DNA.” Ridiculing Banerjee over the “khela hobe” (game will happen) slogan, Modi said, “Didir khela shesh hobe, vikas aarambh (Didi’s game will be over and development will start). Didi will not be allowed to play with the future of Bengal.”

“Mamata Didi stands like a wall to block all development schemes,” he alleged. Referring to the 50-minute outage of WhatsApp, Modi said people got upset with it. “But in Bengal development has been down for 50 years....your dreams have been down for 50 years,” he said. Flaying the TMC government over “rampant corruption”, the prime minister said, “She (Banerjee) gets angry when asked about irregularities in cyclone relief, she sends to jail those who question the theft of ration (during lockdown), has people beaten up with sticks when they ask about coal theft, and gets burnt the houses of those demanding jobs.”

Meanwhile, Mamata slammed the BJP, branding it as the “biggest extortionist” in the world, which should never be allowed to rule the state. Banerjee, speaking at an election rally in Haldia in East Midnapore district, also accused the saffron party of orchestrating riots, killing people and torturing Dalit girls.

“BJP is the biggest ‘tolabaz’ (extortionist) in the world... Just see the amount of money it collected under the PM Cares Fund. If the people of West Bengal want peace and a state free from riots, then the Trinamool Congress is the only option,” she asserted. The chief minister, bound to a wheelchair after suffering injures during campaigning earlier in the month, also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of embarking on a “selling spree”.

“The PM has sold everything. He has devastated the Indian economy. The government is already privatising the railways, coal sector, BSNL, the insurance space and banks. Someday, the Haldia dock might get sold, too,” she said. Addressing a public meeting in Panskura, Banerjee also said, “In every meeting he (PM Modi) says that no development happened in Bengal. I want to ask him, Dilli mein kya hua, Laddoo hua? (What happened in Delhi, Laddoo?).”

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