- Can't get rid of PM Modi by 25 people holding hands on stage: Amit Shah
- Amit Shah attacked Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool in his rally in Malda
- He said Bengal now infested with bomb and weapon-making industries
Launching the ruling BJP's campaign in Bengal for the national election due by May, Amit Shah today mocked the mega opposition rally organised by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday. There were 23 parties and nine prime minister aspirants at that gathering at Kolkata's Brigade Ground, the BJP president said at a rally in Malda.
Amit Shah's rally almost didn't happen. The BJP claimed the Malda administration had refused to permission to let his helicopter land at the state-run airstrip. But land he did. Of two options -- the BSF helipad and that at a private resort, he chose the latter.
His attacks on Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress started from the word go.
Making a point about violence on the Trinamool Congress' watch, Amit Shah also said the land of Rabindra Sangeet was now infested with bomb and weapon-making industries. Only BJP, he said, would bring the glory back to Bengal.
"Gathbandhan, gathbandhan, gathbandhan," Mr Shah mocked, adding, "Gathbandhan for what? You can't hope to get rid of Narendra Modi by 25 people holding hands on stage. Narendra Modi has the people with him and is standing tall like a mountain."
"Of the 23 people who were seated at Brigade Ground (the rally venue), there are nine who want to be PM. We only have one leader - the entire NDA (National Democratic Alliance) stands rock-solid behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi," said the BJP president.
The Trinamool was quick to react, with a Facebook live minutes after Mr Amit Shah's speech.
"After listening to the BJP president's speech in Malda, it is obvious that they are very nervous. They know their days are numbered. They are politically scared. Their speeches are low on facts and poor in taste.
"They don't understand the ethos of India. They don't understand the ethos of Bengal. They are heading towards one big zero. Some are saying they are desperate. Some are saying they have gone mad. Or is it a combination of both ? Trinamool lawmaker Derek O'Brien said.
Mamata Banerjee's grand show of opposition unity starred several prominent leaders like Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal but had notable exceptions like Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati; both sent representatives.
Amit Shah said Mamata Banerjee had no idea how much the Congress-led UPA had given Bengal and how much more was the BJP-led coalition's contribution. "The UPA II government in its five years gave only Rs 1.32 lakh crore while the Narendra Modi-government provided over Rs 3.95 lakh crore," he said.
Ahead of the national election, the BJP has planned around 30 such meetings in 10 days. Top ministers and even PM Modi will address a few.
The BJP chief returned to Delhi skipping another rally at Jhargram, because of his ill health, according to the party. "Amit Shah is very ill. He has high fever, but still attended today's rally. He was discharged few days ago from the hospital after suffering from swine flu," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said.