India Prime Minister Narendra Modi

26

Intl desk, Mar 07: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the BJP’s election campaign in West Bengal officially on Sunday by taking on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee head-on for allegedly letting down the state that had placed much expectation in her.

“Bengal trusted Didi for poriborton. She broke the trust,” he said at a rally at Brigade Parade Ground teaming with people.

“I have come here to make you believe in ‘Asol Poribortan’ (genuine change), a change in Bengal’s development, a change in Bengal’s situation, an increase in investments and industries and in the reconstruction of Bengal,” Modi said.

“The next 25 years are very important for development in Bengal…In 2047, when India will celebrate 100 years of independence, Bengal will lead the country once again,” he said.

The Prime Minister alleged that the democratic system had been destroyed in the state and that the BJP would strengthen it. He also promised to re-establish public belief in government systems, in the police, and the administration.

He welcomed veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty who joined the party hours earlier, saying he wanted to do good for the state with the blessings of “Baba Loknath”.

Chakraborty was welcomed into the party fold by BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state party chief Dilip Ghosh, among others.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had met the actor at his Mumbai residence last month setting off speculation that he might join the BJP.

Chakraborty, a former Rajya Sabha member of the TMC, had quit the Upper House in 2016 after his name surfaced in Saradha Ponzi scam.

Elaborate arrangements had been made by the BJP to ensure the success of the rally.

Along with the 72-feet long main stage, two other stages had been set up, one for Tollywood actors and another for other important personalities. The two other stages were 48-feet length, 24-feet width and 7-feet height, ndtv.com reported.

Apart from Mr Vijayavargiya, other BJP functionaries who  supervised the rally include National Vice-President Mukul Roy, General Secretary Sanjay Singh, and Rajya Sabha Swapan Dasgupta.

Over 1,500 CCTV cameras had been installed across the city for security. Drone cameras were also used to monitor the venue.

Three main barricades had been strategically placed toward the main stage for security purposes. Barricades and a helipad was created at the Race Course near the Brigade Ground.

This was the first of the Prime Minister’s 20-odd rallies across the state in the run-up to the polls, BJP sources said.

On Saturday, the party announced its first list of 57 candidates for the polls. Two days earlier, incumbent Trinamool Congress announced its own 291 candidates, leaving three for its ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

Elections to West Bengal’s 294-seat Assembly are scheduled to be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.

Source: The Telegraph, India