Modi tempers attack on Mamata as he winds up Bengal campaign, says state needs peace for development

·4-min read

(Eds: Adds details) Kolkata, Apr 23 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday accused West Bengal's TMC government of partonising illegal immigration from Bangladesh and extortion syndicates but uncharacteristically avoided targeting Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee.

Addressing virtual rallies simultaneously in Kolkata, Birbhum, Malda and Murshidabad from New Delhi, he said West Bengal needs peace for development, before winding up his election campaign that would have extended for a few days more but for the overwhelming surge in COVID-19 cases.

'Illegal immigration, syndicates and extortion are big hurdles in the path of West Bengal's development,' he said without naming Banerjee, whom the BJP has often openly accused of patronising such activities.

The prime minister's virtual meeting came a day after the Election Commission banned road shows, motorcycle rallies and padyatras for the remaining two phases of the state assembly election campaign and capped attendance at public rallies at just 500. Polling for the remaining two phases will be held on April 26 and 29.

Modi, who was to address four rallies on Friday, cancelled his visit to the state and chose to address the meetings online.

Unlike his earlier rallies, Modi did not breathe fire against Mamata Banerjee in his speech where he underscored the importance of 'dignity of labour, ease of living and ease of doing business', all of which, he claimed, were missing in West Bengal.

'Bengal yearns for peace, security and development,' he said.

Exuding confidence about the BJP coming to power in the state, the prime minister said the new government will use technology to transform Kolkata, the city of joy, to city of future.

Referring to alleged large number of crimes against women, Modi said the BJP government will set up fast track courts across Bengal for providing speedy justice to women.

'Owing to the corona situation in the country, I have been busy with several important meetings since morning,' Modi said at the start, apologising to the audience, masked and maintaining social distance, for not being physically present among them.

He said though BJP workers had made arrangements for the physical rallies where COVID-appropriate safety guidelines would have been strictly followed it was not possible for him to visit Bengal.

'I urged you to bring about ashol parivartan (true change) in Bengal and I am thankful for your overwhelming support,' he told the rally, and voiced confidence about the BJP emerging victorious in the assembly elections.

He said all sections of people in the state want real and palpable change after over four decades of unfulfilled dreams. They now want to give shape to their aspirations for a better life, education, and income.

'I see an urge for peace, security and development in Bengal,' he said, adding people want a government whose every department works with integrity and performs its duty.

Modi said people of Bengal want dignity of labour, ease of living and ease of doing business, and asserted the BJP has vowed to fulfil their wish.

Maintaining that the people of Bengal want the state's glory to be restored, Modi asserted that the BJP will give a corruption-free government and ensure law and order where hooliganism will not be allowed.

He said it will be the primary task of the BJP government to revive democratic practices to restore people's faith in the system.

Modi asserted the new BJP government will facilitate free debate and expression of contrarian views.

'The world is looking at opportunities to invest in India. Record investments are being made in the country,' he said, adding that the new BJP government will ensure that a large part of it comes to Bengal.

The prime minister said piped drinking water supply will be ensured to all households and healthcare, education and industrialisation will get priority to create a 'Sonar Bangla'.

The new National Education Policy will be implemented for the benefit of all students, including those from the weaker and financially-stressed sections of society.

Talking about pollution, the prime minister said, CNG-based vehicles, affordable piped gas for cooking, and electric mobility will be promoted.

RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) Act, which protects the country's middle class against fraud while buying homes, will be implemented in Bengal, he said.

He also urged people to adhere to the safety guidelines issued by the government for the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent overcrowding at hospitals.

'We have to fight this battle unitedly,' he said. PTI AMR SK SK