Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took on the Congress and the Trinamool during the course of a blistering rally speech in Kolkata. It was his second rally in the state in the space of just a few hours, having compared West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to a 'speed-breaker on development' at Siliguri. At the state's capital, he focused on the Opposition seeking 'proof' of the Indian armed forces' strikes on Pakistan's terror bases.
"Be it a surgical strike or airstrike, attack on a satellite in space, or our step towards becoming a global space power, people have started accepting it. Or the strengthening of Digital India, or waterway between Kolkata to Benaras, all of this, who made it possible? Who did it within five years? No, not Modi. It is all because of your blessings, that turned the impossible to possible," the Prime Minister said.
Urging interaction from the audience at regular intervals, he continued, "In such times, when we are moving towards achieving the vision that Swami Vivekananda had for our nation, our own people have insulted our nation in the hustle to insult Modi."
He asked the people, "You tell me, who was asked to give proof of the Balakot airstrike? Who was doubting the airstrike? Who was bringing down the morale of the forces?"
"'Give us the evidence of the bodies' - Who said that? Who committed the sin of asking 'saboot' from the 'sapoot'?"
Talking about the lives lost in the Pulwama terror attack that occurred on February 14 and was perpetrated by the Jaish-e-Mohammed, he named the CRPF Jawans hailing from the state who had been martyred and asked, "Is it not an insult to Constable Sudip Biswas and Head Constable Bablu Santra, the martyrs in Pulwama attack?"
Then he went on to talk about 'Mission Shakti' - which saw India becoming just the fourth country in the world to prove anti-satellite capabilities - which he had announced to the nation in a public address on March 27, and focused on Mamata Banerjee's reaction wherein she had referred to it in terms of being a drama:
"Our scientists developed technology to launch missiles and destroyed an anti-satellite, and we became the 4th nation to join the global space power club. But who called this huge success, a 'drama'?"
Adding on, he said, "That the will power to do what I have done has come to this 'Chowkidar' only in these five years is a false statement. Our soldiers and forces had the willpower to carry out such strikes before as well. Even our scientists had the willpower to launch such satellite, what we did not have was the intent of the previous government. When you prioritise your selfish needs instead of the welfare of the state, then this is what happens to the state"
'Didi' (Mamata Banerjee) and her friends, these days are using anti-national words because the political ground beneath their feet has been shaken."
This was PM Modi's second rally of the day, having campaigned earlier in Siliguri where even then while addressing the nation he took on the Congress as well as Mamata Bannerjee's state government on several fronts, specifically calling her a 'speed-breaker on development' accusing her of being responsible for slow development in the state despite the Centre's pro-poor schemes.
West Bengal has a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats which is the third largest number after Uttar Pradesh's 80 and Maharashtra's 48. In the 2014 general elections, the Trinamool had comfortably emerged as the biggest party in the state, winning 34 seats making it the third-largest Opposition party in India after the Congress (44 seats) and then Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa's AIADMK which won 37 seats in the state.
The voting for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.