Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took the battle for the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal right to the heart of the Trinamool's bastion, addressing a rally at Siliguri with another planned in Kolkata mere hours later.
At Siliguri, he highlighted the progress and development that his BJP-led NDA government has effected in the state across various spheres and took a jibe at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over this, saying 'Didi is a speed-breaker on development'. His speech came on the same day as Mamata Banerjee will be holding her first public meeting for the General elections in the state at Dinhata in North Bengal - just 170 km from Siliguri.
Here are PM Modi's 10 fiercest attacks from his Siliguri rally:
1. "Whether it is the Left, Congress or Mamata, all of them are chips off the old block. ('Ek hi thaali ke chatte batte') Their politics is only limited to aggravating poverty in West Bengal."
2. "The development of the pro-poor schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM-KISAN in West Bengal were put to a halt. The reason behind it is the 'Speed-breaker' (having referred to 'Didi' as a speed-breaker on development earlier).
3. "The list of nefarious activities by 'Speed-breaker' is very long. Didi has also interfered and stopped the work meant for the 70 lakh farmers in the state.
4. "Our people started questioning the IAF's Balakot strike. Mamata also questioned the attack. Why is it that when the terrorists were made to bear the brunt of our actions, she felt the pain?"
5. "The aim of West Bengal's government is to keep the poverty intact. NDA government tried to uplift the oppressed and poor and prevent illegal theft, and in order to do that, released the RERA (Real Estate Act) so that people are not ripped-off by the buyers. But Didi stopped the imposition of the RERA law in the first place."
6. "I know all your needs, hopes, and issues. But all I am waiting for is for the 'Speedbreaker' to be removed from the state."
7. "On one side there is this government which undauntingly deals with the terrorists, on the other hand, there are the people who are playing in favour of Pakistan."
8. "All the politicians who are on the payroll of Trinamool are spreading hate and misleading people. I want to tell them that their days are numbered. Once BJP comes in power in the state, people who have wrongly or ill-treated innocent citizens will have to pay for it."
9. "Just like Congress and the Communist party, they (Trinamool) want poverty. Their politics revolves around it. It's their conspiracy to stop their development."
10. "In West Bengal's chit-fund scam, all the poor people's money went to 'Didi' and her ministers who ran away with it. They looted the poor."
A few moments later, when PM Modi asked, "Gully Gully mein?" "Gaon Gaon mein?" and "Seema par bhi?" the ground echoed with people shouting "Chowkidar!" in keeping with the 'Mai bhi Chowkidar' campaign that the BJP has propagated in every rally so far.
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 in West Bengal will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.