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Didi is speed-breaker on path of your development: PM Modi in Bengal’s Siliguri

Addressing a massive rally in this part of north Bengal, the PM took jibes at the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief saying that she is the speed-breaker in the path of the state’s progress.

SNS | New Delhi |

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal’s Siliguri.

Addressing a massive rally in this part of north Bengal, the PM took jibes at the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief saying that she is the speed-breaker in the path of the state’s progress.

“There is a speed-breaker in West Bengal which you know by the name of ‘Didi’. This ‘Didi’ is the speed-breaker in your development,” Modi said, as the sea of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters cheered in support.

Expressing his gratitude to the people who came to attend the rally, the PM said that the massive turnout is proof that “Didi’s boat has sunk”.

Launching his party’s national election campaign in Bengal, the PM also hit out at Banerjee and her government over the chit fund cases in the state.

The PM said that people will have to vote Banerjee out of power to ensure that the Centre’s development schemes reach the state.

Criticising Banerjee for pulling out of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the PM said that while his government offered free treatment for the poor upto Rs. 5 lakh at hospitals, Banerjee simply blocked it from helping the poor.

At the same time, the PM also accused the Congress of conspiring to put the lives of soldiers at risk by promising in their manifesto to amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

“The 2019 elections were a question of protecting the honour of the armed forces,” he told the gathering.

“Thousands of people from Darjeeling and rest of West Bengal work to protect the country in such areas. AFSPA is like a shield for the armed forces so that they can combat the terrorists in a proper way. But these people do not have faith on our soldiers… That is why they are daring to make such promises,” he said.

“Your votes are not just necessary for making the BJP win or re-electing Modi as Prime Minister but are also needed to protect the respect of our armed forces,” he said.

Assailing Banerjee and the Congress over their questions on the Balako airstrike, the PM asked the crowd whether they held their heads up in pride following India’s jaw-breaking response to terrorists.

“I gave a free hand to our Army. Do you agree with this decision? When our forces killed the terrorists in Balakot, did you feel happy or not? Did your heads go up in pride or not?” Modi asked, and the crowds responded with a thunderous ‘yes’.

“But Didi did not like it and neither did her allies… All these grand (leaders) cried so much after the air strike that they became hero in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the West Bengal Chief Minister was more pained than “those in Islamabad, Rawalpindi or Karachi”.

The rally at Siliguri was the first of the two the PM was scheduled to address in the politically-sensitive state, where Trinamool Congress (TMC) rules with an iron hand.

Later today, the PM will be addressing an even bigger gathering at the historic Brigade Ground in Kolkata, which is being seen as his direct challenge to Banerjee on her turf.

Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika reported that the BJP booked four special trains to Howrah from Jhargram, Lalgola and Rampurhat to ensure the maximum possible turnout. According to the BJP in Bengal, supporters were also coming from different parts of south Bengal.

Brigade Ground was the venue for Mamata Banerjee’s massive 19 January anti-BJP rally that was attended by nearly every opposition leader.

Banerjee is scheduled to address a rally in Dinhata in Cooch Behar, where she would be responding to PM Modi.

Polling for West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May. It is one of the three states, apart from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where elections are being held in all phases.