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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

With Sandeshkhali in focus, Modi says Muslims will reject Trinamul's 'goondaraaj'

The entire country is watching what those who beat the drum of Maa-Mati-Manush have done in Sandeshkhali, says PM in Arambagh in Hooghly

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 01.03.24, 04:34 PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Screen grab.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launched the BJP’s poll campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on Friday from Hooghly’s Arambagh at the Vijay Sankalp rally, with the claim that Muslims in Bengal will reject the Trinamul Congress.

“The Trinamul’s arrogance is based on their belief that they have a secured vote bank,” Modi said addressing a public rally at Hooghly’s Arambagh. “The Muslim women will reject the Trinamul’s goondaraj. With the result of the Lok Sabha polls (in Bengal) the countdown for the downfall of the Trinamul government will start.”

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The events unfolding for nearly two months in North 24-Parganas Sandeshkhali occupied much of Modi’s speech today.

“The entire country is watching what those who beat the drum of Maa-Mati-Manush have done in Sandeshkhali,” said Modi, referring to the protests against the arrested Trinamul strongman Sheikh Shahjahan.

“Under the Trinamul’s rule this criminal-leader was absconding for almost two months. Someone must have been protecting him?” asked Modi.

Shahjahan was arrested by the Bengal Police on Thursday for which Modi gave the credit to the state BJP. The North 24-Parganas Zilla Parishad functionary Shahjahan, along with his brothers and associates are accused of land grab, extortion, forcing farmland to be converted for fisheries and sexual exploitation of women.

“When the Trinamul leaders crossed all the lines against the daughters and sisters of Sandeshkhali, the women stood against them. When they asked Didi for help, what did they get? They (the Trinamul) used all the power to save their leaders,” said Modi. “The people are asking Didi is the vote of a community more important than the women of Sandeshkhali?”

The BJP pitched the Prime Minister's pre-poll campaign on social media with the hashtag ModirSatheBongoBasi (People of Bengal with Modi).

Modi also questioned the “silence” of the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) partners in Bengal, the Congress and the Left.

“The Left and the Congress have held meetings in Patna, Bangalore and Mumbai (with Mamata) but they dared not ask the state government any questions on Sandeshkhali. You will be surprised to hear, the Congress national president said, these things keep happening in Bengal. Is this not an insult to the state, its culture and tradition, the great sons of the soil and all the people?” asked Modi.

Over the last two weeks, along with the BJP's leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, state BJP president Sukanto Majumdar, the Congress' state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and the CPM leaders like state secretary Mohammad Salim and youth leader Minakshi Mukherjee too were stopped from visiting Sandeshkhali during the peak of the protests.

The former CPM Sandeshkhali MLA Nirapada Sardar was arrested and spent nearly a fortnight behind bars and was released only after the Calcutta high court intervened.

Modi reserved his sharpest attack on the Trinamul as the projection of a bipolar fight between the BJP and the Trinamul helps both the parties to consolidate their respective vote banks.

Corruption among the Trinamul rank and file and the reign of terror created by Trinamul strongmen in select pockets featured prominently in the prime minister’s speech, indicating that both Modi and the BJP will keep the focus on these issues in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, the dates of which are yet to be announced.For the pre-poll campaign in Bengal, the BJP has selected three constituencies for Modi to address, each represented by a woman from the Trinamul in the outgoing Lok Sabha: Arambagh, Barasat and Krishnagar.

Krishnagar, where Modi will address a public meeting on Saturday, the local MP Mahua Moitra of the Trinamul was expelled from the Lok Sabha in December last. Moitra was amongst the most vocal critics of the Modi government in the last five years.

On Friday, Modi raised the corruption issues that have dragged the ruling Trinamul in Bengal from one controversy to another, with the assurance that he will deal with it strictly.

For the record Modi gave the same assurance a decade ago ahead of his first term as Prime Minister when he had promised to put behind bars those involved in the Saradha chit fund scam. The case is still under probe,

With the Lok Sabha polls around the corner, the time has come for Modi to make fresh promises.

“The Trinamul has created a new model of crime and corruption, the state government encourages crime and corruption,” Modi said before rolling out a list of scams in which leaders belonging to Bengal’s ruling party have been under probe and some of them arrested. “Bundles of currency notes are recovered from the homes of Trinamul leaders. Even in films you haven’t seen such huge sums of money.”

The prime minister referred to the recruitment scam for teachers, and in municipalities, ration distribution, land grab and cattle smuggling, before launching himself as the savior and spoke about himself in the third person.

“The state government employs every means that it can to stop the central probe agencies from investigating. The chief minister sits on a dharna. The criminals want to loot central funds, but Modi will not allow that. Modi is their enemy number one,” said Modi. “Should I allow it? Allow them to loot? Am I in the wrong, if I fight against them, if I take action against them? This is my guarantee those who have looted public money will have to return. Modi will not spare them.”

The prime minister added, Modi is not scared of their abuses and attacks.

The next weapon in Modi’s arsenal was the alleged non-cooperation of the Mamata Banerjee government on development schemes and projects.

Ahead of Modi’s visit on Friday, the union finance ministry released Rs. 10,692crore for Bengal (the fourth largest in the country after three BJP-ruled states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh) out of the total Rs. 2.15lakh crore from the third instalment of tax devolution for the month of February.

“The poor and the middle class in Bengal have been suffering because of the attitude of the Trinamul government,” alleged Modi, before rolling out a list of projects which have been stalled in the state.

“Around Rs. 18,000crore was sanctioned for the Jharia-Ranigunj coalfield project but could not be started. Similarly the state government is not cooperating with Jagadishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra pipelines, pending for four years. Funds for clean drinking water, housing projects for the poor, health schemes are lying unused because the state government is refusing to implement these,” Modi said, before adding that Trinamul was the biggest stumbling block in the development of women, poor, youth and farmers in the state.

The Trinamul Congress had two questions for the Prime Minister, which were not answered on Friday.

“When will you listen to Man ki Baat of our deprived MGNREGA beneficiaries. Despite your government, stopping funds, Mamata Banerjee-led government by today will clear dues of all deprived MGNREGA beneficiaries in the state,” read a statement issued by the Trinamul. The party also asked the prime minister, “Will you suspend CBI-fir named Suvendu Adhikari today from your Party or share the stage with him to prove your Modi ki guarantee to shelter corrupt people?”

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