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Modi's rally in Midnapore sparks BJP vs Trinamool war of words

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 16 July 2018, 18:58 IST

While addressing a Krishak Sabha (farmers' rally) in West Midnapore on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the situation in West Bengal is worse than what is was during the Left regime.

“In the state, everything is controlled through Trinamool Congress run syndicates. If you want to construct a school or college, you will have to purchase stone, bricks and sand from shops run by Trinamool functionaries. This chit fund business is also run by Trinmool syndicates,” Modi alleged, further adding “Everything is decided by Trinamool Congress cadres and they are encouraged by a government run in the name of Ma Mati Manush”.

“Even Dalits are being tortured in Bengal and the Trinamool Congress unleashed unbridled terror during the Panchayat election,” he further said.

Modi urged the people to “gather the courage and fight the syndicates”.

Responding to Modi's comments, West Bengal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “BJP is a party that runs a syndicate that peddles religious extremism. The party is a syndicate for fanatics and for corruption. Modi’s speech showed that BJP does not have any development agenda”.

According to Modi, the new support prices for rain-fed kharif crops will be 50% above the cost of production. The Centre has also approved higher fair and remunerative prices (FRP) for sugarcane and jute farmers.

Taking a jibe at the posters of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along either side of the road near the venue of his rally, Modi said “I am grateful to Mamata Banerjee for greeting me with folded hand in the posters at Midnapore and it has been done by chief minister to congratulate me for the work I have done for farmers.”

Responding to this, Chatterjee said that the posters were put up for Trinamool Congress's “martyr's day rally on 21 July and BJP workers had in fact defaced many of these posters”.

Meanwhile during Modi's speech, a portion of the pandal that was erected for the rally gave way, injuring at least 44 people. Seven are said to be critical.

Some of them were admitted to the Midnapore Medical College and Hospital and Modi visited them after the rally.

Modi said, “I am overwhelmed to see the crowd in West Midnapore, despite an accident. I have never seen such a disciplined crowd in Gujarat too. Despite an accident, people remained disciplined and sat to hear my speech. I will remember this forever.”

Mamata Banerjee tweeted after the rally, “We pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured at the Midnapore rally. The government is providing all help for medical treatment.”

The Trinamool Congress mentioned that BJP has to take the responsibility for the accident victims.

Trinamool Congress also countered the BJP's claims on farmers.

“The BJP has promised to double farmers' income in their manifesto. But they haven't delivered. In Bengal, farmers' income has gone up 2.25 times in seven years. In 2011, it was Rs 91,000 and last year it went up to Rs 2,90,000,” Chatterjee said.

He further cited how hundreds of farmers in BJP-ruled states were committing suicide, whereas in Bengal there were no such instances.
Meanwhile a scuffle broke out at Mohanpur near Khragpur in West Midnapore between BJP supporters and the police, after the former claimed that the cops did not let them enter Modi's rally.

Sources in the district administration said that around 14 police officers were injured in attacks by BJP workers and they have been admitted to nearby hospitals.

First published: 16 July 2018, 18:58 IST