No devpt in 10 yrs, Mamata took Bengal back to 19th century, says Rajnath

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(Eds: Adds inputs) Joypur (WB), Mar 25 (PTI) Accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of 'taking back Bengal to the 19th century, with no development work undertaken in the past 10 years', Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the TMC dispensation, just like its predecessor, the Left Front, has wronged the people of the state.

Singh, who addressed a series of public meetings in Purulia, Bankura and South 24 Parganas districts, took at dig at the TMC's khela hobe (game will be played) slogan, and said Bengal, now on, will witness only work and development.

Alleging that the TMC supremo delivers speeches encouraging acts of violence and aggression, the union minister said, 'Unke bhashan mein bhi hingsha hote hai... woh kehti hai ke isko mar bhagao, usko bartan se pit pit kar bhagao (During her speeches, she talks of violence... she asks people to beat up and oust a few, hit others with utensils).' He wondered if the chief minister 'seeks to divide the country' by repeatedly terming people who have come from other states as outsiders.

Stressing that the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, which later became the BJP, was established by Syama Prasad Mookerjee -- a son of Bengal -- Singh said, 'Will any brother from this state be considered an outsider in Uttar Pradesh? All people born on the soil of India are brothers to each other.' Claiming that the TMC dispensation has done nothing for the people of Bengal, Singh said, 'How is it possible that those belonging to one party (BJP) are outsiders, while you, having ruined Bengal, are an insider? The CM, instead of undertaking development work, makes thoughtless remarks.

'Neither 'Maa nor mati or manush' (mother, motherland, and people) feel safe in the state.' 'Maa, Mati, manush' is another slogan that was coined by the TMC during 2009 general election.

Singh further accused Banerjee of not fulfilling her promise of putting an end to water crisis in Purulia.

'Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his part, has promised piped water availablility in every household of the country by the end of 2024,' the defence minister stated.

Drawing parallels between the BJP and former India cricket captain Saurav Ganguly, he said just like the stylish southpaw, who hit a sixer whenever he stepped out of the crease, people have placed the saffron party across the crease during the Lok Sabha polls by giving it 18 seats in West Bengal. No one can now stop us from hitting a sixer,' he said.

Maintaining that the BJP government at the Centre has never discriminated against the people of the state, as often alleged by the TMC, the senior saffron party leader said, 'The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had given Rs 1.32 lakh crore to Bengal under the 13th Finance Commission, while the Modi government allotted Rs 4.48 lakh crore to the state under the 14th Finance Commission.' Noting that more than 150 saffron camp workers have been killed in West Bengal, the senir BJP leader said that it is the responsibility of the state's chief minister to ensure the safety and security of its people, no matter which party they bore allegiance to.

'Bomb-making factories are openly being run in Bengal.

If the same had happened in Uttar Pradesh (of which he was once the chief minister), the matter would have been dealt with sternly.

'The BJP, if allowed to form government in Bengal, will make security arrangements not just for saffron camp workers, but also those belonging to the Congress, Left and the TMC,' he said, exuding confidence that his party will bag more than 200 seats in the state.

Emphasising that the BJP is not a party that creates enmity between people, he said, the TMC supremo has been trying to divide the people of Bengal on religious lines.

'The BJP will not practice discrimination on the basis of religion. It would rather punish anyone creating trouble or indulging in such crimes. Now no one will be able to stop Durga Puja celebrations or Saraswati Puja in Bengal,' he said.

Controversy had erupted in 2017 at a school in Tehatta, Nadia district, over celebration of Saraswati puja, with one section of students apparently trying to stop another group from observing the festival.

In that very year, the West Bengal government had imposed curbs on Durga idol immersion, as the occasion coincided with Muharram, but the high court later eased the restrictions.

Insisting that the country has become stronger under the Narendra Modi dispensation, the Defence Minister said that the Indian Army 'stood firm' during a face-off with China in Ladakh, referring to the incursions by the Chinese PLA and the disengagement of the armies thereafter.

He also said that the country has taught Pakistan a lesson with airstrikes on terror bases to eliminate ultras, following attacks in Uri and Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.

'Modiji has a 56-inch chest... If you want to see a strong India, you have to bring the BJP government to power in Bengal as well,' he said. PTI AMR RMS RMS