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Modi points ‘scam’ finger at Mamata

The Prime Minister spent much of his 35-minute address personally attacking Mamata Banerjee on Saradha, paintings and 'syndicate raj'

By Abhijeet Chatterjee in Durgapur

  • Published 3.02.19, 2:05 AM
  • Updated 3.02.19, 2:05 AM
Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a personal attack on Mamata Banerjee over her paintings and claimed “all corruption charges, from deposit default scams like Saradha to paintings”, led to her doorstep.

Describing himself again as the nation’s “chowkidar (watchman)”, Modi said his fight against corruption had robbed the chief minister of sleep. “Starting from chit funds, Saradha to painting scams, all corruption charges lead to one door. That’s the reason she does not like this chowkidar. I am fighting against corruption and that is why those who are accused had assembled in Calcutta to remove this chowkidar,” Modi told a rally in Durgapur, echoing allegations by BJP chief Amit at a rally in Contai earlier this week.

Modi’s allusion was to Mamata’s Brigade Parade Grounds rally in Calcutta on January 19 attended by most major forces in the national Opposition. “Why is Didi is so scared if she has not done nothing wrong? Why are you not allowing them (CBI) to come to Bengal for investigations?” Modi asked, launching his Lok Sabha poll campaign in the state. He had levelled similar allegations in 2014.

On Saturday, Modi said he had faced several investigations in Gujarat as chief minister during the UPA regime but never disallowed the CBI from coming to the state. “I was not scared as I am honest.”

The state has withdrawn “consent” to the CBI, meaning the central agency cannot carry out probes in the state except in court-ordered cases.

After the CBI, real estate was the next line of attack. “The Mamata government is not implementing the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act as it would stop malpractices. It is known to everyone how important the lobby involved in real estate malpractices is to Mamata Didi’s government,” Modi said in his 35-minute address at Nehru Stadium, much of which was spent slamming the chief minister.

The Prime Minister alleged that “syndicate raj” and other extortion-like activities were commonplace in Bengal. Syndicates are illegal cartels supplying building material allegedly backed by ruling party leaders. “Even children here are aware of Triple T— Trinamul Tolabazi Tax. Starting from college admissions to transfers of teachers, one has to pay Triple T everywhere.”

Modi claimed that BJP workers were being attacked in Bengal as the party had stood up against such activities.

He apologised for the “inconvenience” caused to the people in Durgapur because of the “large” turnout and accused the state government of not allowing the BJP to hold rallies.

Modi said the Mamata government had deprived lakhs of poor in Bengal from the Ayushman Bharat health scheme because of her “own political interests”.

The state pulled out of the scheme recently with Mamata accusing Modi of trying to hog credit for the jointly funded programme.