By Express News Service
KOLKATA: As elections come closer, voices are getting louder and allegations are flying in thick and fast. Narendra Modi on Monday launched another scathing attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, refuting her claim that she is fighting for ‘Bengali pride’. The Prime Minister accused her of neglecting the state’s culture, its icons and women and promoting ‘cut money culture’.
“The state government’s cut money culture has vitiated the atmosphere to such an extent that you cannot even take a house on rent without paying it….You cannot rent a house without the syndicate’s permission,” Modi alleged. He was addressing a rally at Dunlop ground in Hooghly district, after inaugurating an extended stretch of Kolkata Metro connecting the famous temple of Dakshineshwar with the city and its suburbs.
Mamata has often called BJP a party of outsiders from Gujarat, who do not understand the cultural plurality of Bengal. Reacting to that, Modi accused Mamata of neglecting the state’s heritage. “I have been told the house where Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Vande Mataram is in abysmal condition. The man who injected life into the freedom struggle…his house is a victim of neglect. It’s an insult to Bengali pride,” Modi said.
Opening a new line of attack, Modi said a large number households in rural Bengal were deprived of the Centre’s pipeline water supply project Jal Jeevan Mission. “I am making a revelation that will surprise the country. Around 3.6 crore rural households have been brought under the water supply project. But in Bengal, only nine lakh households have received direct drinking water. The Central government sanctioned `1,700 crore. Only `690 crore have been used. The rest is drained out,’’ said Modi.
Looking to garner the support of women voters, Modi said Mamata is responsible for the plight of rural homemakers, who struggle to fetch drinking water. This is considered to be a move to blunt the TMC’s election slogan — Bangla Chay Banglar Meye (Bengal wants its own daughter as CM).
TMC said Modi’s comments are ‘a bag of lies’. “The PM delivers a speech that fails #FactCheck,” the party’s Parliamentary party leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien tweeted. Spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said: “Modi should first explain why his government has failed to control fuel prices.”