Kolkata: Describing Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee as a “speed breaker” on development in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted that her “boat has sunk”.
Mr Modi and Ms Banerjee went for each other’s jugular in battleground West Bengal, with the Prime Minister castigating “speed breaker Didi” and the Trinamul chief hitting back warning that he will face a “voter strike”.
Mocking Prime Minister Mr Modi as “Expiry Babu” and “Expiry PM”, Ms Banerjee dared him to participate in a direct debate with her in television or at a public rally.
In a series of rallies, in Silguri in North Bengal and later at Kolkata’s historic Brigade Parade Ground, Mr Modi also accused both the Congress and Trinamul of being “sympathisers of Pakistan” who wanted to “break the morale” of India’s security forces and make them “helpless” in the fight against terror.
He also lambasted Ms Banerjee for questionning the airstrike at Balakot before he promised to build a “New Bengal” when the BJP would come to power in the state.
Not the one who would take things lying down, the Ms Banerjee mounted a blistering counteroffensive, mocking Mr Modi’s “56-inch chest” and claiming his government did nothing to save the lives of the CRPF jawans despite having “information” about the impending terror attack. “We are nationalists not fascists,” she asserted. “Chowkidar is acting like a fascist. You are talking of air strike, you will see a voter strike,” she said.
Addressing a rally in Siliguri, Mr Modi said, “If many big pundits, even myself excluded, had not visited this place and witnessed this sea of people, it would not have been possible to understand that Didi’s boat has sunk.”
He lamented that he could not implement his welfare schemes in West Bengal. “Do you know the reason behind it? Yes, you have got it right. There is a speed breaker in West Bengal. The people here know this speed breaker as ‘Didi’. This ‘Didi’ is the speed breaker on development for you. Didi is not bothered about the poor. She is more occupied in playing politics over poverty. So how can she work to eradicate poverty? If poverty ceases to exists, Didi’s politics will also end,” Mr Modi said.
He accused both the Congress and the Trinamul of “perpetuating family rule”. “In 55 years that a family ruled India, it stifled the talent of the youth and spread the poison of casteism in society. It is being repeated in West Bengal where the aunt (Mamata Banerjee) and nephew (Abhishek Banerjee) are looting people,” he alleged.
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