Foreigners conspiring to malign India's image, says Narendra Modi at Assam, Bengal rallies; launches key projects

Speaking at the rally held in East Midnapore district's Haldia, Modi also claimed that the ruling TMC government had not implemented several schemes of the Central Government in the state

FP Staff February 07, 2021 19:59:08 IST
Foreigners conspiring to malign India's image, says Narendra Modi at Assam, Bengal rallies; launches key projects

Narendra Modi addressed a meeting in Assam on Sunday. Twitter@NarendraModi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee of "corruption and misgovernance" while addressing his first election campaign rally in the poll-bound state on Sunday.

Speaking at the rally held in East Midnapore district's Haldia, Modi also claimed that the ruling TMC government had not implemented several schemes of the Central Government in the state.

Modi hit the campaign trail on Sunday with rallies in Assam and West Bengal. Both states will go to polls around April or May.

The BJP and TMC have ramped up their election campaigns in West Bengal, with the saffron party seeking to gain ground in the state after ten years of TMC rule.

Tearing into the ruling party on Sunday, Modi also said that people had expected 'mamata' (affection) but had received 'nirmamta' (cruelty) from the TMC during its tenure. "The TMC government is just a rebirth of the misrule of the Left Front government in the state," he added.

Claiming that Mamata got angry over slogans of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', Modi questioned why she remained silent when "conspiracies were hatched to malign the country".

"She gets angry when she hears slogans hailing the motherland. She gets angry when you demand your rights. But she remains silent when conspiracies are hatched to malign the nation," he said.

"There are some conspirators who're trying to destroy India's image associated with tea and yoga — made famous by iconic Indians — all across the world. Has Didi spoken anything about these conspirators? The country will respond to such conspiracies with all force at its command," he added.

Accusing the TMC of "criminalising politics, institutionalising corruption and politicising the civil administration and the police", he exuded confidence that the BJP will form the next government in West Bengal.

"The people of Bengal have made up their mind to elect a BJP government in the next Assembly polls. In the first cabinet meeting of the BJP government, a decision will be taken to implement all central schemes in the state," he asserted.

Statements about "foreign conspiracies" against India emerged as a common thread in Modi's speeches in rallies on Sunday. In Assam, Modi claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched abroad to malign India's image and attack its identity associated with tea.

In a rally in Assam's Sonitpur district, Modi said he had always linked the condition of tea garden workers to the development of Assam and stated that "answers will be sought" from the political parties supporting these conspiracies.

"I am sure the tea workers from Assam will give a befitting reply. No tea garden worker in Assam can tolerate this attack and I am sure they will win this fight against these conspirators as they are stronger than these forces with vested interest," he said.

Apparently referring to global NGO Greenpeace's report about an alleged overuse of pesticide in the Indian tea industry, Modi said, "You must have heard in news that these conspirators are vowing to malign the image of Indian tea in a systematic manner across the world."

Modi launches oil and gas infra projects in West Bengal's Haldia

Apart from addressing meetings in Assam and West Bengal, Modi also launched several infrastructure projects and schemes.

In Haldia, he launched several infrastructure projects in the oil and gas sector, including the ambitious 348-kilometre Dobhi-Durgapur natural gas pipeline built by government-owned GAIL.

He also inaugurated an LPG import terminal of the Bharat Petroleum, and a four-lane road overbridge in the Ranichak area of Haldia as part of the highway project for better connectivity. He also laid the foundation stone for the second catalytic dewaxing unit of IOC at the Haldia refinery.

In Assam, he launched the 'Asom Mala' scheme for state highways and district roads in the Dhekiajuli and Sonitpur districts. He also laid the foundation for two medical colleges in Biswanath and Charaideo districts.

The PMO said that the initiative will "boost the state’s road infrastructure and contribute to Assam’s economic progress and improve connectivity". Elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly are due in March-April.

In Sonitpur, the prime minister said that he "has a dream" of setting up at least one medical college and a technical institution in each state that will impart education in the local language.

"There is no dearth of talent in the villages and far-flung areas. I have a daring dream of each state having at least one medical college and a technical institution imparting education in the local language," he said, promising setting up such institutions in Assam after the Assembly elections.

He said this will improve medical services in remote areas as more and more doctors will be able to reach out to people in the local language.

He claimed Assam has witnessed unprecedented development in the last five years with increased health and infrastructure development.

Until 2016 there were only six medical colleges in the state but six more were added in just five years. The number of seats in medical colleges have gone up from 725 to 1,600 now, he said, as per PTI.

The Asom Mala scheme, with an outlay of Rs 8,210 crore, will provide inter-linkage between highways and rural roads and high speed corridors.

The Medical College and Hospital at Biswanath will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 565 crore and Rs 557 crore will be spent on the facility at Charaideo. They will have 100 seats each and serve as hub of medical education and also improve doctor to patient ratio.

'Mamata will skip Modi's event in Haldia'

On Saturday, PTI reported that Mamata Banerjee was unlikely to attend Modi's programme in Haldia.

The reason for this was not specified, state government officials were quoted as saying. However, they said that the "insult meted out to her" on 23 January, when 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans were raised at an event just before her speech, could be the cause.

"Madam (CM) is unlikely to attend this evening's programme at Haldia where PM Modi will be inaugurating projects," the officials said.

The TMC boss has also asked her party members to skip the programme, he added.

With input from PTI

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