Prime Minister Narendra Modi accuses Mamata Banerjee of politics of appeasement and of encouraging Maoists and supporting terrorists for political gains

Published : March 18, 2021 20:37 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the election rally in Purulia district on March 18. Photo: PTI

In a scathing attack on Mamata Banerjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the West Bengal Chief Minister of politics of appeasement in encouraging Maoists and supporting terrorists for political gains. Addressing an election rally in the tribal district of Purulia, Modi said that the Trinamool Congress government, which has been in power for the last 10 years, has done nothing for the social empowerment of tribal people and the poor. “Today I have come to assure the people of Purulia and the Jangalmahal… when the double-engine government—one engine from the State and one from the Centre—is formed in West Bengal, there will be development and your lives will be made easier,” said Modi. Nine Assembly constituencies in Purulia will be going to the polls in the first phase of the eight-phase elections on March 27.

Alleging that the coal and sand mafia have the protection of the State government, the Prime Minister said: “For its own political ends, Didi’s [Mamata Banerjee] government also encourages Maoist violence; and you have to pay the price—my poor brothers and sisters, the youth, the mothers, the women of the region and the children.” He also referred to the Pulwama attack and the Batla House encounter case, saying, “People of Bengal have not forgotten what you have done for the sake of appeasement. They remember the time you accused the Army of trying to plot a coup. The people of Bengal have not forgotten whose side you took when the Pulwama attack happened…. When the Batla encounter happened, the attitude of your party cannot be forgotten. These people were siding with the terrorists at that time.”

Modi accused the Trinamool government of not including Dalits, the marginalised, forest dwellers and tribal people in the development process. “The biggest victims of the culture of taking cuts, commissions and extortion in the last 10 years have been the poor, Dalits and adivasis,” he said. He blamed both the previous Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government and the Trinamool government for the economic backwardness in Purulia, saying the two governments did not give any importance to development in the region.

Referring to the water crisis in the district, Modi said: “The Trinamool government has left the farmers here to their own devices and focussed only on its own agendas. They have given the people of Purulia a life in which water is a scarcity…. To give an example of how this government functions, the Purulia pipe-water project has been lying incomplete even after eight years…. After so many years, Trinamool could not build a single bridge and now they are talking of development.” The Prime Minister’s allegations came a day after Mamata Banerjee announced a slew of development projects and outreach programmes for the poor and tribal people in the Trinamool’s election manifesto.

Countering Mamata Banerjee’s election slogan Khela hobe (the game will be played), Modi said: “Didi says khela hobe, BJP says chakri hobe [there will be jobs]. Didi says khela hobe, BJP says bikas hobe [there will be development]. Didi says khela hobe, BJP says shiksha hobe [there will be education].… Didi, you have played for 10 years and now the game is over. Development will begin.” According to Modi, the “countdown” for Mamata Banerjee’s departure from power has already begun.

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