Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited West Bengal's Hooghly district on Monday, 22 February to hold a public rally and inaugurate several railway projects in the poll-bound state.
"The state is ready for poriborton (change). We want real poriborton," said the Prime Minister at the rally in the district's Dunlop Grounds.
Before his visit to Bengal, Prime Minister Modi also visited Assam where he inaugurated oil and gas projects, in an event organised at Silapathar in Dhemaji.
Bengal Has Made Up Its Mind For poriborton: Modi
The Prime Minister began his speech in Bengali by paying respects to Baba Taraknath and Mahaprabhu Jagannath Deb.
"Bengal is ready for poriborton (change)," said the Prime Minister.
He then trained his guns on the Mamata Banerjee government, attacking her for not signing up the state in the Centre's Ayushmann Bharat scheme.
"Lakhs of needy people have been deprived of the Rs 5 lakh worth free treatment under the scheme. These are the kind of impediments Mamata Banerjee has formed for the development of Bengal," he said.
"The Central government gives money to people in their accounts. The state government's money cannot reach the poor without the authorisation of TMC leaders. That is why in every village TMC leaders are flourishing. They have handed over the state to cut money and syndicate Raj," he added, once again, raising allegations of corruption against the ruling dispensation in the state.
Modi also responded to constant jibes by Mamata Banerjee that the Central government, led by him, has never financially helped Bengal. In a recent rally, Mamata called Modi's visit to the state during cyclone Amphan in 2020 as "drama".
“Central government has provided Rs 1,700 crore for relief work after Amphan to the Bengal government. The state government has only spent Rs 609 crore. The leftover Rs 1,100 crore has been siphoned off by TMC,” bellowed the Prime Minister.
"Out of 1-1.75 crore houses in Bengal, only 9 lakh have water pipeline. The way the state government works, we wonder how many more years it'll take to deliver water to the poor. This shows that TMC doing injustice to 'Bengal Ki Beti'. Can they be forgiven?" he further asked.
Dakshineswar Metro Inaugurated
The Prime Minister inaugurated the extension of the North-South extension of the Kolkata Metro Railway from Noapara to Dakshineswar, as well as flagged off the first metro train service on this stretch. This is a 4.1-km long stretch built at the cost of Rs 464 crore.
"I congratulate the people of Bengal for the extension of the metro network," said Modi.
"The project inaugurated today will make the lives of a lot of people in Hooghly easier. The better the transport facilities are in our country, the better will be our commitment towards a Atmanirbhar Bharat," he added.
The Prime Minister further added that the reduced distance from Dakshineswar to Noapara and Kolkata will largely help students and women, especially students of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).
He also pointed out that the distance between the holy sites of Kalighat in South Kolkata and Dakshineswar will help devotees as well.
“From Hooghly, the extension of Metro Railway from Noapara to Dakshineswar will be inaugurated. This project is special because it will improve access to the sacred Maa Kali Temples at Kalighat and Dakshineswar. These temples are vibrant symbols of India’s great culture," said the Prime Minister in a tweet, before his visit.
"You would be happy to know that the two newly built stations of Baranagar and Dakshineswar have many modern facilities that will further ‘Ease of Living.’ They have also been designed aesthetically," he added.
Both these metro stations were inaugurated virtually from the Dunlop grounds in Hooghly where the Prime Minister's public meeting took place.
‘Election Announcement Likely in First Week of March’
In Assam, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Rs 44.98 crore Dhemaji Engineering College, and laid the foundation of the Rs 54.71 crore Sualkuchi Engineering College.
"Centre and Assam government are working for the balanced development of Assam and North East. Previous governments adopted a ‘step-motherly’ approach to Assam's North Bank and neglected connectivity, health, education, and industry," said the Prime Minister.
"Delhi now not far from Dispur, Delhi stands at your doorstep," he added.
Hinting that the election dates for the upcoming elections may be declared in March, the Prime Minister said he will visit the poll-bound states "as many times as possible".
"Will visit Assam, other poll bound states as many times as possible before elections are announced, likely in first week of March," he said.
Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit Bengal once again on 7 March.
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