In Mamata land, Modi flays Left and UPA

Kolkata, April 9 (IANS) Making a political point in West Bengal, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday blasted the Left and accused the UPA of discriminating against non-Congress ruled states.

Addressing a meeting of business chambers here, Modi said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s bias was “shattering the dreams of many states like West Bengal”.

Referring to Gujarat, Modi said it took him 10 long years to “fill the potholes” left behind by the previous Congress regime.

Attacking Banerjee’s rival, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Modi said: “They left the state with so many potholes! They left the state in ruins.

“Whoever may be entrusted by the people (to run the state), one does not know how many years and how much effort will be needed to fill the potholes.”

Trinamool Congress leader Banerjee became chief minister in May 2011, ending 34 years of Left Front rule of West Bengal.

“I am confident about the efforts being made now to fill up the potholes. The dreams of the people of Bengal will be fulfilled,” he said in implicit praise of Banerjee.

Modi, widely seen as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, dwelt on how the UPA government discriminated against states run by parties opposed to the Congress, an issue on which Banerjee has been vocal since walking out of the UPA in September last year.

“Defying the constitution, the UPA government has been constantly discriminating between states ruled by the parties in the UPA coalition and those run by non-UPA parties,” Modi said.

“People have elected them (the UPA). But that does not mean they have the power to discriminate.”

He said the bias of the central government was threatening national integrity.

He said people of Gujarat have more strength to withstand such “discrimination”. “But for 34 years people of Bengal have suffered so much, their strength to withstand it is now very low.”

Modi adroitly parried a question by an industrialist about the advice he would give Banerjee to develop tourism in the state.

“This time I have come to Bengal as a student and my priority is to learn.”

Modi refused to draw any comparison between his state and West Bengal. “The media only wants Modi to talk on one aspect… I have not come here for this. I do that only during elections.”

Comparison with Gujarat has been an anathema for Banerjee.

Her government drew much flak during the investor summit Bengal Leads a few months back as industrialists, media and the opposition compared the event with Modi’s investor conclave Vibrant Gujarat.

Banerjee had been with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance between 1999 and 2006, with a few months’ break in 2001. She later joined the UPA in 2009, before quitting last year.

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