Elections in Bengal inching closer, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding rallies at the same ground in Hooghly district two days apart. The Prime Minister’s rally is scheduled for February 22 at the Dunlop Grounds. Mamata Banerjee will be there two days later — on February 24.
Asked if this was an answer to the Prime Minister’s rally, Trinamool district chief Dilip Yadav said they only want to showcase the government’s achievements over the last decade. Ms Banerjee’s party is seeking a third straight term in the state.
“Those who are trying to hurt Bengal, those who are opposing Bengal, those who are misleading people of Bengal and telling lies, those who are trying to divide Bengal, those who are trying to plant the seeds of communalism here, our leader will speak against them,” he said.
The BJP has accused the ruling party of copying their programme.
Locket Chatterjee, who represents Hooghly in parliament, said: “They are understanding that the ground is shifting below their feet and the BJP is going to get all the Vidhan Sabha seats in Hooghly district. They are just trying to show the people their presence.”
Jobs are an important issue in the areas that the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister are holding their rallies. The Dunlop Ground is within the complex of the Dunlop factory, which was shut in since 2008. The closure led to massive job cuts in the area.
The Trinamool Congress had made efforts to revive the unit and the factory had briefly reopened in 2014.
Ms Chatterjee said the Trinamool would reap the benefits of the efforts her party has put in.
“We have cleaned the ground and the roads. We are making a helipad. We are getting the grass cut because the PM will come and our workers will be here to see them. Then we will see Mamata Banerjee come here and hold a rally,” she said.
The BJP MP also blamed the Trinamool for the lack of success in reopening shut industrial units in the region.
“If someone comes here and lies we will give them the correct answers. Our leaders will definitely answer lies. We have focussed on development and our report card says that no Chief Minister has been able to do the kind of work that Mamata Banerjee has done in ten years,” responded Dilip Yadav.
In keeping with the BJP’s efforts to drive in their development mantra, PM Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the Dakshineshwar metro station, which will be connected to the existing north-south line.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to be in Kolkata late this evening for a packed day of campaigning on Thursday. He will be launching the final phase of the BJP’s “rath yatra” from Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district.
Mr Shah is also expected to visit Bharat Sevashram Sangh in Kolkata. He is also expected at the Kapil Muni Ashram in Gangasagar. Lunch will be with a migrant family in the Gangasagar area.