Midnapore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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 here, 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 told the gathering at the farmers’ welfare rally in an apparent reference to the coming general elections.
The rally was marred by a makeshift tent collapsing at the venue, injuring at least 22 people, police officials said.
Mounting an all out attack against the TMC government, Modi said nothing can be achieved without approval of the “syndicate” in West Bengal.
“The political syndicate rules in the land of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jana-Gana-Mana’,” he said, adding that the syndicate pursued appeasement and vote bank politics.
The TMC government, he added, is operating syndicates to run chit funds, take away the benefits of the farmers and unleash atrocities on the poor.
Those who think they can be in power by unleashing violence should read the “writing on the wall”, the prime minister said.
“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.”
According to him, 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 by this government,” he said.
Referring to the recent allegations of extortion from students over admissions in colleges, Modi said the TMC has ruined the state further, after the end of the 34-year Left regime.
Discussing the panchayat polls and the 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 workers in Purulia district recently.
In his view, the people of Tripura had brought about change in their state with courage and determination. In West Bengal, too, the people can defeat the syndicate, he said.
Questioning the utilisation of central funds by the state government, Modi said not a single penny is being spent without the nod of the TMC’s syndicate.
“The TMC doesn’t 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”, he told them that his government was their government.
“Our government works for farmers… from quality seeds to market. It is important to have warehouses to save the produce,” he said.
Referring to the 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.”
He said that the previous regimes did not work for the development of the farmers. Several commissions were set up to look into the issue of increasing the MSP but nothing has happened.
“The farmers are the soul of India. A country can’t develop fully until and unless there is development of farmers,” he said.
Speaking about the increase in the MSP for paddy and other kharif crops, he said the central government had also increased 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 when the makeshift tent collapsed.
According to officials, the prime minister 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.