1:17 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

Narendra Modi encourage Kolkata with Bangla, slams Left but stops short of criticising Mamata

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Kolkata:  Narendra Modi began his first ever election speech in Kolkata in Bangla and offered West Bengal a deal. “Elect BJP candidates in all Lok Sabha seats from Bengal…we will bring you poriborton (change).”  (Highlights)

“Support the Trinamool Congress in the state. But the BJP for the Centre. You will have ladoos in both hands,” the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate suggested to a massive, constantly cheering  crowd at the Brigade Ground.

For good measure Mr Modi added, “If you elect me at the Centre, you will have triple benefit. Mamatadi will bring you change here. I will bring you development from Delhi. And then you have Pranabda as President.” (Watch)

So saying, he also left the door open for any possible post-election alliance with Ms Banerjee. Her Trinamool Congress has partnered the BJP at the Centre before, though the West Bengal CM had recently accused Mr Modi, without naming him, of pursuing “communal politics.”

The criticism he had for her was mild. He exhorted Bengal’s people to ask its government for a report card on why it had not delivered on its promise of poriborton (change),” Ms Banerjee’s election buzzword that he liberally borrowed today.

Even his attack on the Congress’s Gandhis was Bengal-flavoured. “Pranab Mukherjee should have been PM in 1984 or 2004,” he contended.

The chants of “Modi-Modi” and the sea of people at the rally seemed to belie the poor statistics that the BJP has in the state so far; its best performance was in 1999 when it won two of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

Mr Modi made repeated references to the large number of people gathered to hear him speak, saying, “The third front leaders should come in their choppers and see which way the wind is blowing.” He added, “The idea behind Third Front is to make India a third-rate country. States in eastern India have remained backward due to Third Front parties being in power here.”

He did in Kolkata as Kolkatans would have him do – quoted from Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry and invoked Bengal’s favourite leaders and thinkers like Swami Vivekananda and Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

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