Updated March 2nd, 2024 at 22:54 IST

PM Modi Slams TMC Over Corruption, Sets Target for Bengal BJP to Win All 42 LS Seats

PM Modi, during a rally on Saturday, said that West Bengal's ruling party, the TMC, has achieved "mastery" in turning schemes into scams.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. | Image:ANI
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Krishnanagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday intensified attacks against the Mamata Banerjee government, labelling it as being synonymous with "oppression, dynasty politics, and betrayal" and claimed that the TMC has achieved a "mastery" in turning schemes into scams.

Speaking at a rally in Krishnanagar in Nadia district, Modi, on the last of his two-day visit to the state, outlined an ambitious target for the BJP to win all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, emphasising the direct correlation between West Bengal's progress and that of the nation.

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In the 2019 general elections, the saffron party had bagged 18 seats in the state.

Modi rallied supporters to "ensure the proliferation of the lotus", the electoral symbol of the BJP, in every Lok Sabha constituency in the state.

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Taking a dig, Modi articulated an acronym for the TMC, asserting it now epitomises 'Tu, Main, aur Corruption hi Corruption' (you, me, and corruption).

He lambasted the party for appropriating central schemes, branding those as their own, and fostering a culture of "graft and favouritism".

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"The TMC has tainted the image of West Bengal. It has achieved mastery in turning every scheme into a scam. They put a sticker on central schemes and call it theirs. They don't hesitate in snatching from the poor and depriving them," he said.

Modi claimed that 'tolabaj' (extortionists) of the TMC "call the shots" in West Bengal and "wield undue influence in the state, obstructing the implementation of central schemes".

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Thanking people for turning up in large numbers at the rally, Modi said, "It is giving a clear message, 'Ei baar, NDA Sarkar 400 paar' (this time the NDA government will cross 400 seats)." Incidentally, the Prime Minister was speaking at a constituency whose MP, TMC's Mahua Moitra, was recently expelled from the Lok Sabha in the cash-for-queries imbroglio.

Referring to the incidents in Sandeshkhali, where women have levelled charges of sexual abuse against TMC leaders, Modi accused the state government of abandoning the aggrieved women and instead siding with the accused.

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"People of West Bengal are disappointed by the way the state government is functioning. They have repeatedly given huge mandates to the TMC with great expectations, but the party has become another name for tyranny, dynasty politics and betrayal. The TMC's priority is corruption and nepotism, not development of the state," he said.

Modi lamented the "state government's indifference to the pleas for justice from affected women".

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"Despite invoking the slogan of 'Maa Mati Manush' (Mother, Land, People) for electoral gains, the TMC administration has failed to safeguard the well-being of mothers and sisters of West Bengal," he remarked.

He criticised the state's law enforcement agencies, suggesting that criminals wield undue influence over the administration's decisions.

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"The situation in West Bengal is such that the criminals, and not the police, decide when to get arrested," he alleged.

In an apparent reference to the arrest of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh, Modi said the state government did not want the culprit of Sandeshkhali to be arrested.

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"But when the women power of West Bengal stood up as Maa Durga and the BJP workers stood by with them, the state government was forced to bow down," he said.

Modi criticised Mamata Banerjee's administration for obstructing the populace from reaping the benefits of central government initiatives.

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"A few days ago, AIIMS in Kalyani was dedicated to the nation. However, the TMC government is not happy with it and put up roadblocks citing environmental clearance issues," Modi stated.

He accused the TMC dispensation of granting free rein to hooligans by party affiliates and land mafias while impeding environmental permits.

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"In West Bengal, TMC's thugs and land mafia enjoy unrestricted liberty for unruly behaviour, they don't need any permission. But we need permission from those goons," Modi asserted.

Highlighting the disparity between central government assistance and its utilisation in West Bengal, Modi lamented, "The Central government extends medical aid worth Rs 5 lakh to the underprivileged, but the TMC government obstructs Bengal residents from benefiting from this initiative of the central government." Reacting to the prime minister's charges, TMC leader Santanu Sen said, "The allegations are baseless. He was speaking about corruption but did the BJP suspend Suvendu Adhikari, named in a CBI FIR, from the party?" State Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja claimed that Modi failed to see corruption anywhere in the country beyond the opposition parties like TMC.

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"Bengal gets to see the PM only when elections are round the corner. He came during the 2021 assembly polls; He is again coming back before the ensuing general elections. But that will not serve his purpose," Panja said.

She claimed that Modi's criticisms on corruption "sound hollow" as he shared the stage with the leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari who is an accused in the Narada case.

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Panja also attacked the BJP-led government at the Centre for holding back funds due to state.

She 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," she added.

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Earlier, PM Modi unveiled development projects worth Rs 15,000 crore in the state.

"Yesterday, I laid the foundation of and inaugurated projects worth Rs 7,000 crore. The initiatives included development projects related to railways, ports and petroleum, among others. Today, again, I am laying the foundation of and inaugurating projects worth an additional Rs 15,000 crore," Modi said.

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These projects will provide momentum to West Bengal's economic growth and create job opportunities, he added.

Among the significant inaugurations on Saturday, the PM laid the foundation stone of Damodar Valley Corporation's Raghunathpur Thermal Power Station Phase II (2x660 MW) in the Purulia district.

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Modi also inaugurated the four-laning of the 100-km-long Farakka-Raiganj section of NH-12. 

Except for the headline, this PTI story has not been edited by Republic. 

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Published March 2nd, 2024 at 22:54 IST