Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday slammed the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on her home turf, accusing her of staging the sit-in to favour “those who looted the poor”.
He was speaking at Jalpaiguri neighbouring Darjeeling district.
Modi, who reached Moynaguri in Jalpaiguri around 4 pm, flew from Delhi to Bagdogra airport and then took a chopper to the ground in Jalpaiguri for his meeting.
He cited one of Bengal’s biggest icons, Subhas Chandra Bose, to bash the chief minister.
“Netaji fought for Indian unity. In Bengal, you have a Chief Minister who is standing with people who have looted the poorest… many of whom had committed suicide because the chit funds had ruined their lives,” he said.
Reiterating BJP’s accusations of a cover-up attempt on part of the chief minister through her dharna, Modi said: “Why are you so scared of the probe? Why are you on dharna for people who did slipshod investigation? The chowkidar will not let them go. Either the looters or those who are protecting them… in whatever numbers they come, however much dharna they do. This is my promise to each and every chit fund victim”.
Banerjee staged a sit-in protest for a full 40 hours starting Sunday in Kolkata – nearly 600 km from Jalpaiguri – against the Centre, accusing it of trampling upon institutions and the Constitution.
The BJP has one legislator in the neighbouring Alipurduar district and one lawmaker in Darjeeling.
Since 2014, the BJP has lost the support of the local party in Darjeeling. But in other parts of north Bengal it has made some inroads and the Prime Minister chose to rally at Jalpaiguri to cash in on that sentiment.
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It was Modi’s third rally in the State in a week. BJP president Amit Shah has also held two rallies already.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also scheduled to hold three rallies in the State, but managed to hold only one after his chopper did not get permission to land.