Invoking Singur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday alleged the “obstructionist mindset" of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her TMC has deprived Eest Bengal of industries and jobs. He also slammed her for branding BJP leaders as “outsiders" (Bohirgato) and said it is an insult to the inclusive ideology of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and principles of Indian Constitution.
Referring to the Singur movement of 2006-08 that forced Tata Motors to move out its proposed small car Nano’s mother production unit from there, Modi told an election meeting in Haripal that the TMC used the place for political purpose and then left the people to fend for themselves.
“Didi and her party’s obstructionist mindset blocked several industrial, infrastructure and connectivity projects. I have never seen a party which takes pride in stopping industries and development. We all know what happened in neighbouring Singur. They used it for furthering their politics and then left the people in limbo. Today, it has no industries and farmers are in distress," he said. Singur, a small town in Hooghly district, has an old connection between Banerjee and Modi.
The scene of an aggressive movement led by Banerjee against forcible land acquisition by the then Left Front government for the ‘Nano’ project, Singur, along with Nandigram, had catapulted the street fighter TMC leader to power in West Bengal in 2011. The sustained, and often violent, protests by the local farming community led by Banerjee forced the Tatas to move out of Singur.
A cryptic ‘Suswagatam’ SMS from Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister, to Ratan Tata, the group chairman, is said to have clinched the deal in Gujarat’s favour and led to the relocation of the project to Sanand near Ahmedabad. The prime minister also mocked Banerjee for her frequent criticism of the Electronic Voting Machines and the Election Commission.
“She keeps criticising EVM, the EC….If players keep criticising umpires, you should know their “Khela Sesh" (game’s over)," he told the election rally at Haripal in Hooghly district, where the Nano project was first supposed to be located. Addressing another rally in Sonarpur, Modi slammed Banerjee for branding BJP leaders as “outsiders" (Bohirgato) and said it is an insult to the inclusive ideology of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and principles of Indian Constitution.
Asserting that Bengal’s “Bhumiputra" (son of the soil) will take over as the chief Minister after the BJP is voted to power on May 2, Modi said no Indian is an “outsider" in the state. “When the British tried to divide us, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose said - India is one, and the hopes and aspirations of every Indian are the same. Today, there is a lot of pain when instead of propagating the ideology of Netaji, TMC and Mamata Didi are talking about Bohirgato," he said.
“Didi is talking about outsiders. We are all children of Mother India. No Indian is an outsider here. When BJP forms the government after May 2, a son of the soil will become the chief minister," he said. Calling TMC a “Taka Maar Company" (an enterprise that loots money), the prime miniter asked Banerjee to control her “goons".
“You keep your TMC goons under check. Explain to them - Modi is here! Their bullying will no longer be tolerated.Bengal doesn’t want violence and terror. Bengal wants education for its daughters and protection, respect and justice for its mothers," he asserted.
Seeking to punch a hole in the TMC’s poll plank of Bengali pride, Modi claimed Banerjee hurt people’s self- respect by claiming they attend BJP rallies after taking money. “Didi has got jittery after sensing defeat. That’s why she is criticising everybody and everything, from EC to EVMs.
She is abusing me. But while abusing me, she has hurt the self-respect of the people of Bengal by saying they are taking money to attend our rallies. “Do people of Bengal take money to attend rallies, Didi? Who are you insulting while abusing me? You are insulting the people of the state," he said.
Modi said he sensed the outcome of Bengal elections the day polling was held in Nandigram. “Didi you betrayed people, you accept defeat," Modi said apparently referring to Banerjee’s angry outbursts against central security forces and Union Home Minister Amit Shah while polling was on in Nandigram.
Banerjee is locked in a keen tussle in Nandigram with her one-time loyalist Suvendu Adhikari who has joined the BJP. Modi also claimed that Banerjee, in order to satisfy her ego, blocked implementation of various central schemes.
Exuding confidence about forming the next government in Bengal, the prime minister said he will attend the oath- taking ceremony of the BJP government and request it to implement the PM Kisan Nidhi scheme as early as possible. Referring to some TMC leaders’ claim that Banerjee might contest elections from his Lok Sabha seat Varanasi in 2024, Modi mocked the TMC boss, saying this proves that Didi has accepted her defeat.
“Didi is now looking for a place for herself outside Bengal. The people of Varanasi and Uttar Pradesh are as large-hearted as the people of Bengal. They won’t call her an outsider," he said sarcastically. Claiming that Banerjee decided to contest Nandigram on impulse “tao mein", Modi said, sensing defeat at the prestigious seat, the TMC decided that Banerjee should enter the fray from another seat as well.
“But some sensible people then told Didi it will be her second big mistake," he quipped.