West Bengal

West Bengal Assembly polls | Modi pitches for ‘Asol Paribartan’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally ahead of West Bengal State elections in Kolkata on March 7, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Promising to usher in “Asol Paribartan” (real change) by bringing in development in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, from a public rally at the Brigade parade grounds, targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying that this was not the same “Didi” who had removed the Left Front from power.

Describing the public rally as one of biggest rallies he had ever addressed, Mr. Modi, in his hour-long speech, went to lengths to explain what “Asol Paribartan” meant. “From this Brigade ground, I want to give you assurance of real change… assurance of development of Bengal, assurance of things to change in Bengal, of increasing investment in Bengal, and assurance that for youths, farmers and workers, we will work 24 hours,” the PM said.

Mr. Modi said that the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government in Bengal would draw its inspiration from the mantra of “Asol Paribartan”, which would mean a situation where there were jobs for youths, there was no migration of youth, industries could prosper, and there would be “infrastructure of the 21st century”. He also spoke about why Kolkata was called the “city of joy” and stated that there was no reason why Kolkata could not be “the city of the future”. Mr. Modi said that on one side, there was the Trinamool Congress, the Left parties and the Congress, and one side there were the people of the State.

The PM accused the Left parties’ governments of bringing in vote bank politics in the State, and using an old slogan of the Left parties “Congresser kalo haath gudie dao bhenge dao (break and grind the evil hand of Congress)”, also took a swipe at the Left-Congress alliance in West Bengal. Mr. Modi said that after three decades of Left rule, the people of Bengal had trusted Ms. Banerjee to bring in “paribartan” (change) but that she had betrayed its people and insulted them.

‘Sister became aunt’

“Bengal chose you in the role of ‘Didi’ (elder sister) but you preferred being bua (aunt) to your bhatija (nephew),” Mr. Modi said, targeting the CM. He said that the chief ministership had fallen prey to the very “dynasty rule” that Ms. Banerjee had revolted against in the Congress to form her own party.

The BJP leadership, particularly Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J.P. Nadda, have been targeting TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, Ms. Banerjee’s nephew, but this is the first occasion on which the Prime Minister has made a personal attack on the Chief Minister.

Mr. Modi went on to raise the issue of why the Chief Minister was so angry with him that she called him a “daitya” (demon). He said he had known Ms. Banerjee for quite some time and while it was the same “Didi” who had removed the Left Front from power, he said, “We hear that Didi’s remote control is in someone else hands.”

The Brigade grounds rally was an occasion for a show of strength by the BJP in the poll-bound State. Among senior leaders of the party, Bollywood actor and former Trinamool Congress MP Mithun Chakraborty was also present. The public gathering was the biggest that the BJP has witnessed in the State.

“If the lotus blooms in West Bengal, it is because of the muck your party has spread in the State,” Mr. Modi said. Referring to the Chief Minister’s recent ride on an electric scooter, the Prime Minister also indicated that the 2021 Assembly polls would witness a mega political contest in Nandigram.

“I am happy that you rode the ‘scooty’ and did not fall. But now you have turned your ‘scooty’ from Bhawanipur [Ms. Banerjee’s constituency in 2016] in Kolkata to Nandigram. We always wish well for everyone but what can we do when you want to fall in Nandigram,” Mr. Modi said.

Nandigram will witness the political clash between BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, till recently a TMC leader, and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 6:55:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/prime-minister-narendra-modi-election-rally-in-kolkata-on-march-7-2021/article34012177.ece

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