Launching his party's Lok Sabha poll campaign in West Bengal, BJP president Amit Shah Tuesday scoffed at the efforts by opposition parties to forge a grand alliance, saying it is driven by the "greed for power" and with nine potential prime ministerial candidates in their ranks.
Taking a swipe at the opposition rally convened by TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata last Saturday, Shah said bringing in 20-25 leaders on one stage would not serve any purpose as Narendra Modi will become prime minister again.
Kickstarting the 'Ganatanatra Bachao Yatra' in Bengal, Shah also vowed to overthrow the Trinamool Congress(TMC) government in the state, asserting that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be for restoring democracy in the state.
The TMC was quick to hit back at Shah, saying his speech was "low on facts and poor in taste"and that it seemed the BJP had become nervous and realised that its days were numbered.
Touching upon the Citizenship(Amendment) Bill, Shah said all Bengali Hindu refugees will be granted citizenship once it gets Parliamentary approval and wondered whether Banerjee will extend her support to it.
"Mahagathbandhan is all about greed and serving personal interests. They want to remove Modi, while we want to remove poverty and corruption. They want a 'majboor sarkar' (helpless government) so that they can engage in corruption. We want a 'majboot sarkar' (strong government) so that we can give a befitting reply to Pakistan. It is for the people to decide whether they want a 'majboot' or 'majboor' government," he said.
"Mamata di should know that bringing together just 20-25 leaders on the same stage won't serve any purpose as people will again vote to re-elect Narendra Modi as prime minister. The 100 crore people of this country stand with Modi," he told a BJP rally in Malda, three days after Brigade ground gathering of opposition leaders
Shah said that out of the 23 leaders, who attended the Brigade parade ground rally, nine of them were potential prime ministerial candidates.
He, however, did not name anybody.
"But, we have only one prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi," said Shah, who was discharged on Sunday from AIIMS in Delhi after getting treatment for swine flu.
Shah returned to Delhi in the evening due to his ill health and is unlikely to attend the party rally at Jhargram Wednesday.
"After listening to the BJP president's speech in Malda, it's obvious that they are very nervous. They know their days are numbered. They are politically-scared. Their speeches are low on facts and poor in taste," TMC spokesperson Derek O'Brien said.
"They (BJP) don't understand the ethos of India. They don't understand the ethos of Bengal. They are heading towards one big zero (in West Bengal in the general election)," he said.
The BJP alleged that attempts were made by the TMC to prevent people from attending Shah's rally, claiming that wind of change is blowing there.
"Why is Mamata Banerjee scared? She called herself a fighter, who fought against the Left rule in the state. So why she is scared in fighting the BJP," Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in New Delhi.
At his rally, Shah alleged the TMC dispensation was a "government that facilitates murders" and claimed the party will be ousted in the general elections.
Slamming the opposition, he said the anti-BJP parties did not utter 'Bharat Mata ki jai or 'Vande Mataram' even once during their rally, but kept chanting 'Modi Modi'.
Speaking on the issue of refugees in West Bengal, Shah said the TMC government has done nothing for them.
"The TMC government has done nothing for the refugees. But we will give citizenship to all the Bengali Hindu refugees. I want to assure all the Bengali refugees that they will get citizenship.
"I want to ask Mamata Banerjee whether they will support citizenship bill or not. I am sure she will not support it," Shah said adding that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be a major poll plank of the BJP in borderi states of West Bengal.
"This TMC government only works for infiltrators and is only interested in supporting them," he alleged.
Listing out various developmental projects of the Modi government, Shah said the TMC dispensation is not letting these initiatives to pass on to the people of Bengal as Banerjee is afraid that Modi's popularity will increase in the state.
"The state government has come out of Ayushman Bharat. When the poor people in other states will be able to avail the health insurance benefits under this scheme, the people of Bengal will be deprived of it," he said.
Criticising the TMC government for not giving DA to state government employees, Shah said if the BJP comes to power in West Bengal, it will ensure that this allowance for central and state government employees are on par.
"I want to appeal to all of you that give the BJP more than 23 seats in Bengal to have the Modi government at the Centre," he said.
During his visit to the state last year, Shah had set a target of more than 22 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal.
"What kind of democracy is there in Bengal? We wanted to take out four rath yatras in Bengal. The TMC government became so afraid that it didn't give us permission as their final yatra would have started had the BJP been able to start its rath yatra campaign," Shah claimed.
"I want to tell Mamata Banerjee that if you stop us from taking out rath yatra, then we will start a padyatra and if you don't allow us to take out padyatra then we will hold roadside rallies. But you won't be able to undermine the spirit of BJP workers," he said