Amid euphoric slogans around "poriborton" and anti-Mamata chants, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a massive rally at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground, promised to bring 'asol poriborton' (real change) in West Bengal, and slammed the TMC for breaking the people's trust who thought "Didi" will look after them.
His rally on Sunday has set the tone for a high-octane contest, in which the BJP is seeking to end the TMC's 10-year-reign in the state.
Project of 'Sonar Bangla' will be achieved: Modi
"With blessings of the people, the project of Sonar Bangla will definitely be achieved. I promise that the BJP will bring about 'asol poriborton'. I want to assure you that investment in Bengal will increase, the state will see development and its culture will be protected," Modi said.
"The next 25 years are very important for the development of Bengal. The development here in the next 5 years will lay the foundation for State's development in the next 25 years," the prime minister asserted.
Claiming that democracy has been destroyed in Bengal, Modi said, "BJP will strengthen this system. We will bring in change to re-establish public belief in govt systems, in the police, and the administration."
The prime minister said that the BJP will work hard for farmers, businessmen and the welfare of women. "We will live every moment to fulfill your dreams," he said.
Modi's rally on Sunday marked the culmination of the "Parivartan Yatra" launched by the saffron party in Bengal in February this year. It was the first major event held by the saffron party in West Bengal after declaration of eight-phase elections in the state.
Earlier during the rally, veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty joined the BJP and was welcomed into the fold by BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state president Dilip Ghosh, among others.
'TMC broke people's trust'
Alleging that the Trinamool Congress has broken the trust of the people, he asserted, "The crowd that has gathered here is evidence of the hope that is being nurtured by the people. The people will vote out Trinamool Congress in the upcoming elections."
"Bengal relied on Mamata Didi for change. But Didi and her cadres broke this trust. These people insulted Bengal and tortured the sisters and daughters here. But they could not break the hope and courage of the people in the state."
"Mamata Banerjee had promised to work for Ma, Mati and Manush. However, there has been no change in the lives of the poor people," the prime minister said.
The BJP has gone all out to campaign for the rally launching innovative campaigns, from social media to the streets. The party activists have been hosting flash mobs over the past few weeks at several locations across the state, including busy traffic intersections and crowded localities to rally a large number of people at the Sunday event.
After having a limited presence in the politically polarised state for decades, the BJP has emerged as the ruling Trinamool Congress's main rival by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal 2019 general elections,only four less than TMC's tally of 22. With the BJP's strength increasing in the state in the last few years, its leaders are upbeat that the party will end Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 10-year rule in the state polls.
Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases beginning with polling for 30 seats on 27 March. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already drawn the battleline with declaration of TMC candidate list Friday. Banerjee, who heads Trinamool Congress, announced names of 291 candidates and left three seats for the ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling.
Congress-Left Front-Indian Secular Front of the Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui have joined hands to challenge the TMC as well as the BJP in the battle for Bengal.
With inputs from PTI