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Modi Believes BJP can Win all 42 Seats in West Bengal, TMC Hits Back on Corruption Charges

Modi Believes BJP can Win all 42 Seats in West Bengal, TMC Hits Back on Corruption Charges

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Mar 2: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday set a highly ambitious target for his party in West Bengal to win all the 42 seats in the state in the coming elections to the Lok Sabha while hitting the ruling Trinamool Congress as synonymous with corruption.

“The TMC stands for “tu, main and corruption,” Mr Modi said while addressing a public meeting in Krishnanagar in Nadia district on the second day of his two day visit to the state.

“Seeing you all gathered here in such huge numbers is giving me the confidence to say ‘NDA sarkar, 400 paar,’ he said and went on to tell the gathering “lotus should bloom in all the 42 seats.” Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had set up a target of winning 35 seats for the West Bengal BJP leadership. The BJP, for the first time had won 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal in 2019 Lok Sabha seats but subsequently the party was badly mauled by the TMC in the state Assembly elections in 2021.

The Trinamool Congress hit back pointing out that Mr Modi shared the stage with a person whom the BJP had branded the most corrupt person when he was in the TMC. The reference was to the leader of the opposition in the state Assembly Suvendu Adkhikari, once a close associate of the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who switched over to the BJP just before the last state Assembly elections.

Senior TMC leader Shashi Panja, who is the state’s Women and Child Development Minister, said Mr Modi’s criticism on corruption “sound hollow” as he shared the stage with leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari who is an accused in the Narada corruption case. She also regretted that the Prime Minister visits West Bengal only before elections.

In a rare case of his repeating his speech, Mr Modi again raised the Sandeshkhali issue where women have accused TMC leaders of sexual abuse, his main weapon in attacking the Mamata Banerjee government in the state when he addressed a public meeting in neighbouring Arambagh on Friday, Mr Modi claimed that instead of supporting the “distressed mothers and sisters” of the area, the state government sided with the accused.

“The mothers and sisters kept pleading for justice, but the TMC Government did not listen to them. They took votes in the name of ‘Maa Mati Manush’ but now the mothers and sisters are weeping in West Bengal. The situation in the State is such that here, the criminals decide when to get arrested,” the Prime Minister said. On Friday while addressing a rally at Arambagh in Hooghly, Mr Modi had raised the Sandeshkhali issue and questioned silence of INDIA alliance leaders.

After weeks of protests, the West Bengal police on February 28 arrested the prime accused the Sandeshkhali case Sheikh Shahjahan, a local TMC strongman. The region has been on the boil over allegations land grab and sexual assault allegedly by local Trinamool Congress leadership.

The Prime Minister made reference to several scams in West Bengal and said, “Trinamool Congress government has turned every scheme into a scam. They have a mastery in turning every scheme into a scam.” Mr Modi said the people of West Bengal have given a large mandate to the Trinamool Congress leadership on several occasions and had high hopes from the Trinamool Congress leadership but the party leadership had “disappointed the people of the State”. “TMC is synonymous with corruption, atrocities, dynasty politics, and betrayal,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister also impressed on the “Modi ki guarantee (Modi’s guarantee)” and said the Centre was working towards the welfare of the people of West Bengal. Earlier in the day, Mr Modi inaugurated projects worth 15,000 crore in West Bengal. After addressing the gathering, Mr Modi met State BJP leaders Suvendu Adhikari and Sukanta Majumdar and commended the courage and passion of State BJP leadership.

“Met with Mr Suvendu Adhikari and Dr Sukant Majumdar. We discussed how to further spread our good governance programs among the common people. I commend the courage, passion and tenacious struggle of all the @BJP4Bengal workers who are fighting against the misrule of the Trinamool Congress. Together we will build a better future for West Bengal. @SuvenduWB@DrSukantaBJP,” Mr Modi said on X.

While the Prime Minister was targeting the Trinamool Congress with back to back rallies over the past two days, the Trinamool leadership was busy making preparations for the March 10 mega rally of the party at the Brigade Parade Grounds. Sources in the party said Trinamool general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will start his district rallies in the State from March 14.

Attacking Mr Modi, Ms Panja said, “Bengal gets to see the PM only when elections are around the corner. He came in 2021 and he is again coming back before the ensuing general elections.” On attack on TMC on corruption, Ms Panja said, “May we ask why he shared the stage with Narada-tainted BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari?” Panja also attacked the BJP-led government at the Centre for holding back funds for schemes such as the MGNREGA.

“The PM addressed the rally in Krishnanagar with some false facts, which are unfortunate. You have deprived lakhs of beneficiaries of West Bengal of MNREGA wages, and that is the truth,” she alleged. Panja claimed that UP has the highest number of “fake job card holders,” but it was never deprived of funds. “This is because UP has a BJP government there. But in West Bengal, they deprived beneficiaries for the last two years,” she added. She said the people of West Bengal are aware, and keeping a watch on the developments.



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