Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his visit to West Bengal ahead of the assembly elections, said the state was ready for 'poribortan' (development) now. "Your presence is sending a big message from here to Delhi...it is clear the state has made its decision for development and progress," said Modi at the public rally in Hooghly. He also inaugurated several railway projects in the poll-bound state.
Launching a frontal attack on the Mamata Banerjee government, Modi alleged on Monday it has perpetuated "syndicate raj" in all spheres of life in West Bengal where no work gets done without common people having to pay "cut money". He accused the TMC government of pursuing "appeasement politics" to protect its vote bank while neglecting its cultural heritage and icons.
"The state government's cut money culture has vitiated the atmosphere to such an extent that you cannot even take a house on rent without paying it....you cannot rent a house without the syndicate's permission," he said. He attacked the Banerjee government for not allowing central schemes like the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat, depriving farmers and the poor of its benefits.
"I have been told the house where Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay conceived and wrote 'Vande Mataram' is in an abysmal condition. The man who injected new life into the freedom struggle amid pervasive gloom of slavery...his house is a victim of neglect. It's an insult to Bengali pride," Modi said addressing a public rally here in Hooghly district. He also accused the TMC government of neglecting industrial development, including the state's once thriving jute industry.
"The people of West Bengal have made up their mind to usher in 'asol poribartan' (real change). The BJP will give Bengal a government that will ensure development of all but appeasement of none," he asserted. Repeatedly attacking the state government, Modi said, "Development of Bengal is not possible as long as cut money culture, tolabaji persists.
"Development of Bengal is not possible as long as the state administration patronises goondas, development of Bengal is not possible as long as the rule of law is not established." Modi said once the BJP forms its government in Bengal, people will be able to preserve and protect their culture and nobody will be able to scare or suppress them. He said there was no dearth of potential investors but the threat of the syndicate and cut money dissuaded them from investing in the state.
Modi inaugurated the extension of Kolkata Metro Railway from Noapara to Dakshineswar, revered for the over 160-year-old temple of Goddess Kali. He virtually flagged off the inaugural train from Noapara to Dakshineswar in the 4.1-km stretch of the north- south corridor of the metro railway from here.
Modi also dedicated to the nation the third line between Kalaikunda and Jhargram, doubling of Azimganj to Khagraghat Road section, fourth line between Dankuni and Baruipara, and the third line between Rasulpur and Magra. He said the new lines will reduce congestion and ensure better connectivity.
The prime minister added that the metro railway extension will ensure easier and faster connectivity between the city's Kalighat Temple and the Dakshineswar Kali Temple.
The PM also visited Assam on Monday to inaugurate oil and gas projects, in an event organised at Silapathar in Dhemaji. He accused the governments "that ruled India for decades since Independence of neglecting Assam and the northeast" and reaffirmed his commitment to the development of the region.
The inauguration, scheduled on Monday afternoon, will help connect thousands of people in the 4.1 km stretch between Noapara and Dakshineswar, she said. Apart from regular passengers, devotees intending to visit Dakshineswar Kali temple will also be facilitated with a fast and pollution-free travel mode following the extension of the Metro Railway in its north-south axis.
Passengers from Kavi Subhash station in the southern end will be able to travel to Dakshineswar in just over an hour, traversing 31.3 km, a Metro official said. The prime minister is also scheduled to hold a public meeting at Dunlop Maidan in Hooghly.
In Assam, Modi dedicated to the nation three major projects in the petroleum sector, enumerated steps taken by the state government led by Sarbananda Sonowal and the centre over the past few years, and said they were working together for a balanced growth of the region.
"Those who ruled for decades since Independence believed Dispur was too distant from Delhi. 'Dilli ab door nahi aapke darwaaze par hai' (Delhi is not far now, it stands at your doorstep," he told a massive gathering after dedicating to people, inaugurating and laying foundation of a slew of projects worth over Rs 3,300 crore. The previous governments adopted "step-motherly" approach to Assam's North Bank and neglected connectivity, health, education and industry, he alleged.
He said he will visit Assam and other poll bound states as many times as possible before elections are announced, likely in 1st week of March.