Modi-Mamata clash over ‘tolabaji’

Kharagpur/Haldia, Mar 20 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday alleged TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee presided over an administration full of “tolabaj” and corrupt people, provoking an angry riposte from the Bengal leader who branded the BJP the “biggest extortionist” in the world.
Addressing a rally in Kharagpur, his second in West Bengal in three days, Modi launched a personal attack on the West Bengal chief minister, claiming her lawmaker nephew Abhishek was the only “single window” in the industry scarce state without crossing which no work gets done.
The prime minister alleged Banerjee was engaged in “khela” (game) of appeasement for vote bank politics.
“Industrial units are getting shuttered. You know, a single-window system is created for speedy clearances for industries. The rest of the country is growing under the single window system introduced by the BJP.
“In Bengal, too, exists a single window….the single window of ‘Bhaipo’ (nephew) without crossing which no work gets done,” he said without naming Banerjee’s nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee.
The BJP has often accused Abhishek of running syndicates that extort money from common people. In local parlance, syndicates refer to gangs run by TMC toughs who sell substandard construction material to people at exorbitant rates.
“BJP is the biggest ‘tolabaj’ (extortionist) in the world… Just see the amount of money it collected under the PM Cares Fund. If the people of West Bengal want peace and a state free from riots, then the Trinamool Congress is the only option,” she told an election rally in Haldia.
The chief minister, bound to a wheelchair after suffering injures during campaigning earlier in the month, also accused the prime minister of embarking on a “selling spree”.
“The PM has sold everything. He has devastated the Indian economy. The government is already privatising the railways, coal sector, BSNL, the insurance space and banks.
Someday, the Haldia dock might get sold, too,” she said.
Modi also spoke about the alleged killing of around 130 BJP workers by TMC activists since the 2018 panchayat elections.
“Mamata Didi runs a school of brutality where ‘tolabaji’ (extortion), cut money, syndicate and anarchy are part of the syllabus,” he alleged.
“Even to sell kendu leaves tribals (in Jangalmamhal) have to give cut money. Tell me don’t you have to? In Bengal for everything one has to cough up cut money (commission),” he said.
At his rally in Kharagpur, Modi flayed the TMC government over “rampant corruption”, saying “She (Banerjee) gets angry when asked about irregularities in cyclone relief, she sends to jail those who question the theft of ration (during lockdown), has people beaten up with sticks when they ask about coal theft, and gets burnt the houses of those demanding jobs.”
Referring to the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ health insurance scheme, the prime minister said the TMC government has not implemented it as it thought the Centre will get credit for the measure.
“Mamata Didi stands like a wall to block all development schemes,” he alleged.
Modi underlined the need for a double engine propelled growth for Bengal, where governments run by the same party at the Centre and in the state will take it forward on the path of progress.
Rejecting the outsider tag Mamata Banerjee has given to his party, the prime minister said,”The BJP is the only real party of Bengal. Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded Jana Sangh, the BJP’s forerunner. He was the son of Bengal. Bengal is in BJP’s DNA.”
Ridiculing Banerjee over the “khela hobe” (game will happen) slogan, Modi said, “Didir khela shesh hobe, vikas aarambh (Didi’s game will be over and development will start). Didi will not be allowed to play with the future of Bengal.”
Bengal, he said, had seen the “karnama” (exploits) of the Congress, “barbadi” (destruction) of the Left, while the TMC smashed to smithereens “choor choor” your dreams in the last 70 years.
“Give BJP five years. We will rectify the destruction caused by them in just five years,” he asserted.

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