Narendra Modi chooses not to cross swords with Mamata Banerjee at Kolkata rally

Written by PTI | Kolkata | Updated: Feb 6 2014, 02:40am hrs
Narendra Modi today was critical of the West Bengal government, but did not seek to cross swords with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, saying that while she could work for the development of the state, he be given an opportunity to serve its people from the Centre.

"The people here can ask for an account of development from her at the state level, while they can seek the same from me if I am given a chance at the Centre," BJP's prime ministerial candidate told a party rally here.

"If the people make us victorious in all 42 Lok Sabha seats from Bengal, then it will be a three-tier gain for you people. While at the state level, you will have Mamataji for development, at the Centre you will have me and above all there is President Pranab Mukherjee who is also from here," Narendra Modi said.

Modi, however, questioned whether the people of the state were experiencing the much needed 'parivartan' (change) since the Trinamool Congress government took over in 2011 following the end of the 34-year Left rule since 2011.

The crowd shouted 'no'.

BJP president Rajnath Singh made subtle overtures to the TMC supremo by sympathising with her demand for a bailout package for debt-ridden West Bengal and said the UPA government should have given a moratorium on loan repayment to the Centre.

"Bailout package should have been given to West Bengal in the interest of its people on the lines of a package given to Greece by the European Union to tide over its economic crisis," he said.

Noting that the previous Left Front government had left the state with a huge debt burden of over Rs two lakh crores, Singh said, "The UPA government should have given a three-year moratorium to the state government as had been sought by Mamata Banerjee."

Stating that regional imbalance has been created under the Congress rule, Singh said, "But I want to assure that under Narendra Modi there won't be any discrimination, whether it is east, west, north or south."