(From left) Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, PM Narendra Modi and Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at the 150th anniversary celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday renamed Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) after Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, prompting the CPI (M) to call his government a “name changer” as against the expectation of being a “game changer”.
Speaking at the 150th anniversary celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Modi said the Mamata Banerjee-led state government did not implement Central welfare projects like Ayushman Bharat and PM Kisan Yojana because there was no ‘cut’ money or syndicate involved.
Chief Minister Banerjee, who was invited to the event, and her party leaders were conspicuous by their absence.
Modi hailed Mookerjee for being at the forefront of industrialisation in the country. “Dr Mookerjee set the ball rolling for industrialisation in India... Chittaranjan Locomotive Factory, Hindustan Aircraft Factory, Damodar Valley Corporation and several other projects saw active participation from him. Mookerjee is a living legend who fought for the idea of ‘One Nation, One Constitution’,” he said.
Targeting Banerjee, the PM said her government had deprived the poor of benefits from the Centre's schemes. He iterated his government’s flagship projects and how they had benefited the poor and underprivileged.
“As soon as the state government gives its approval for Ayushman Bharat Yojana and PM Kisan Yojana.... I don’t know whether it will give its nod to it or not, but if it does, then the people of West Bengal will also start receiving the benefits of these schemes,” Modi stressed.
Referring to the ‘cut money’ controversy in the state, he said, "There was no cut (money), no syndicate (while implementing both schemes across the country). When it (both schemes) reaches people directly without any cut or syndicate, then why would anyone want to implement such schemes? I pray to God that he instills good sense into policymakers so that the poor receive benefits of Ayushman Bharat and PM Kishan Yojana."
The CPM criticised the Centre for its decision to rename KoPT. “When Modi came to power, we thought the government will be a game changer. Now, we see the government is a name changer,” CPI(M) leader and former MP Mohd Salim said.