Kolkata rally: Narendra Modi slams Left, goes soft on Mamata Banerjee

Bharatiya Janata Party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday slammed the Gandhi family for denying the coveted post of prime minister to Pranab Mukherjee twice - in 1984 and 2004 - despite his qualifications.

Last Updated: Feb 06, 2014, 03:10 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Kolkata: Bharatiya Janata Party`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday slammed the Gandhi family for denying the coveted post of prime minister to Pranab Mukherjee twice - in 1984 and 2004 - despite his qualifications.

While addressing a massive rally at Brigade Parade grounds, Modi said, "When Indira Gandhi was assassinated Rajiv Gandhi was in Kolkata and he went back. Under a democracy, that time the senior-most minister in Indira Gandhi`s government was Pranab Mukherjee. It would have been good had he been sworn in as the country`s prime minister."

Also Read: Manish Tewari hits out Modi for remarks on Pranab

"They didn`t give it. Not only that, the family (Gandhi) felt that something is going on. So when the Rajiv Gandhi government was formed, senior-most minister Pranabda was not even taken as a minister," PTI quoted Modi as saying.

"Again in 2004, Pranabda was the senior-most politician. It was very natural that had madam Sonia Gandhi not wanted to become (the PM), then the opportunity should have been given to Pranabda, but Manmohan Singhji was made (the PM). Pranabda was not given the opportunity," Modi said.

He urged the people of Bengal not to forget this. "People of Bengal should not forget this. I request you," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.

Also Read: Narendra Modi`s Kolkata rally: As it happened

Modi attacks Third Front

Modi slammed the idea of a Third Front and said it should be "rejected" as the concept would make India "third grade", an IANS report said.

"Third Front will make India third grade and we need to reject them forever. Those talking about the Third Front in Delhi should come here and see which way the wind is blowing," the BJP leader said at a mammoth rally at the Brigade Parade grounds here.

The Gujarat CM said the absence of the Third Front was the "most important" reason why the western part of India has seen development.

"In the western side, none of the Third Front parties have ruled. No associate of the Third Front has ever been able to step into that region. It is different here in the eastern states and result is lack of development," he said.

"Those who are pushing the country to the third grade in the name of the Third Front are ruling in the eastern region

Modi soft on Mamata

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, a PTI report said.

"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," the BJP`s prime ministerial candidate said.

"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," 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`.

Also Read: Modi gave "factually incorrect" data about Bengal: TMC

Modi invokes Bengali greats

Modi invoked Bengali greats like Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore and Subhash Chandra Bose to connect with the crowd and paraphrased Bose`s famous slogan to tell people "tum mujhe saath do, main tume suraj dunga (You give me help, I will give you good governance)".

"Vivekanand dreamt of India becomi g the `jagadguru` (world leader). India was the world leader centuries ago. But we forget that it happened when Bengal was the nation`s leader.... You must take the lead and vote for a party which can transform Bengal once again," he said.
`Bangladeshis snatching away Indians` livelihood`

He also raked up the issue of Bangladesh residents living illegally in the state, saying they were denying the jobs to Indian youth and cornering resources meant for Indians.

"Influx from Bangladesh is worrying people, be it in Assam or here in West Bengal. This has snatched away the livelihood of people in the state. For the growth and development of India, first and foremost right on resources belongs to the natives.

"Shouldn`t jobs go to the citizens of the country first? Shouldn`t the people of India have the first right to resources and development? But today, Bangladeshis are getting the benefits. Where will the youth go? Where will the sons of the poor go," he asked.

Quoting figures, he said West Bengal has become a laggard state and asked people to turn around its fortune by voting for him.

With PTI/IANS inputs