Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is making efforts to bring together opposition parties to fight the BJP in the upcoming national election, due in about three months.
At a rally in West Bengal's Durgapur today, PM Modi accused the Trinamool chief of "strangling democracy in Bengal". The Prime Minister, who launched the BJP's campaign in the state, said that the people of Bengal want "parivartan (change)" and are determined to throw Mamata Banerjee.
In her fierce reply, the Trinamool chief said that the Prime Minister is so "arrogant that he can't accept that his time has come".
Calling him the "grandfather of corruption", she added, "His exit bell has rung. His expiry date is over. Their five years are over. During these five years, they have tortured people, killed farmers, lynched police and organised riots."
In the name of demonetisation, they destroyed the economy, she alleged while counting the controversial Rafale fight jet deal among the top scams under the Modi government.
The barbs flew from one camp to another. Pulling out of Ayushman Bharat scheme under which about 17 lakh people of the state would have got free medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh was "anti-development", PM Modi said.
He alleged that Ms Banerjee pulled out of the scheme as she felt people would credit him for the benefits, which she can't tolerate. There cannot be any bigger instance of heartlessness than this," he said.
PM Modi alleged that Mamata Banerjee was treading the path of the previous communist government to trample democracy. "She should know it did not work then and it will not work now," he said.
The Bengal government, which is infamous for "triple T -- Trinamool Tolabazi Tax", is killing the aspirations of the middle class, PM Modi said. ''Tolabazi'' roughly translates to an act of organised extortion.
Praising the efforts of BJP workers amid violent confrontation with the TMC cadre, PM Modi said their sacrifice will not go waste as days of the TMC government are numbered.
The state government is orchestrating violence targeting BJP workers because Didi has become jittery because of people's love for our party, PM Modi said and added, "Your love is my strength. Your enthusiasm and praise for me is making Didi restless. TMC workers are given a free hand. Those who advertise to be democratic resort to violence," he added.
PM Modi's remark comes less than a week after vehicles used to ferry audience for BJP chief Amit Shah's rally in East Midnapore were vandalised by miscreants when these were parked outside the rally venue.
Continuing his tirade against the Mamata Banerjee government, the Prime Minister said it was unfortunate that the villages of the state have been ignored even after so many decades of independence.
"Bengal has understood that the Trinamool Congress is only busy with the 'syndicate'. Mamata Banerjee is not concerned about Bengal's development. In fact, TMC doesn't even look at projects, unless they don't see the gains they can get through the 'syndicate'," PM Modi said.
Last month, Mamata Banerjee had hosted the "United India Rally" in Kolkata that brought together over 25 top leaders from 23 parties from across the country with one common objective -- unite to oust the BJP.
PM Modi had dissed the proposed "mahagathbandhan" as an alliance "against the people".
"Those who would not see face-to-face four years ago, are now hugging each other," PM Modi took swipe at the united opposition.
Earlier in the day, in a short address in Thakurnagar, PM Modi urged the West Bengal government to support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha.
"After Independence, many people stayed where they were. But after being tortured, they left and came back to India. They had to as Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians have nowhere else to go but India. And that's why we are bringing the citizenship law. I urge the Trinamool to support it in parliament. My brothers and sisters here need it," the PM said.
He had to wrap up his address under 15 minutes as chaos erupted at the venue. PM Modi urged people to calm down several times during his speech.