Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed confidence that his party - BJP - will be voted back to power for a second consecutive term at the Centre and the state of West Bengal will play a major role in it. The Prime Minister also regretted that West Bengal, which is very rich in natural resources, has been completely ruined in the past 40 years.
Outlining his vision for the state, the PM said that the state of West Bengal has immense potential and he wants to transform it into a major development hub and as the engine of India's growth.
The PM made these remarks while talking to Zee News channel Zee 24 Ghanta during which he expressed his views on a wide range of issues.
''I want to thank the people of West Bengal for their immense support to my party during the election campaigning here. While discharging my duties as the PM, I keep travelling to various parts of the country during which I get the opportunity to meet a lot of people. I want to sincerely thank the people of this country for giving me the opportunity to serve them for five years. I have a special connect with West Bengal. I have been associated with the Ram Krishna Mission from an early stage of my life. I want to salute the land of West Bengal,'' the PM said.
Replying to a question on his ongoing war-of-words with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, the PM said, ''Fearing their defeat in the 2019 polls, Mamata Ji and her ministers have lost their mental balance.''
''They (TMC) are hurting their own people. The common man is suffering here because of what is happening in Bengal,'' the PM said while referring to the alleged attack on BJP workers here.
The PM added, ''it all started with the panchayat elections which was marred with incidents of violence. The houses of all non-TMC candidates who won in the panchayat elections were set ablaze by the TMC goons.''
''This dictatorial and anarchist attitude of the Mamata government is a big threat to the democracy in the country,'' the PM said.
In view of 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal, the PM shared his vision for the state and said that he wants to develop it as an ''engine of the country's growth.''
''Where ever you see in the east - West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar etc – all these states are very rich in natural resources, people here are very intelligent and hard working. However, they still live in acute poverty. A lot needs to be done for them. For the country's all-round development, it is important that the eastern parts of the country are also developed, only then India can become a USD 5 trillion economy. I have a detailed roadmap for eastern India and I see that Kolkata has the potential of becoming the hub of India's growth.''
When asked why is West Bengal so crucial for BJP's victory, the PM said, "the ground is slipping from under the feet of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose frustration at the public support for the BJP in the state will help his party form a government with an overwhelming majority.''
''The West Bengal Chief Minister is afraid of the Lok Sabha election results and scared to see her own shadow," PM Modi said.
He also referred to the violence at BJP president Amit Shah`s roadshow in Kolkata during which the bust of social reformer Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was also desecrated.
"The reason for organised attacks on BJP rallies in West Bengal is your fear. Didi, your nervousness and the public support which BJP is getting in the state has assured me that Bengal will ensure that BJP crosses 300 in these elections," PM Modi said.
"All the surveys are giving BJP a full majority on its own, but Didi after seeing your frustration and the support from the people of Bengal, I`m saying that Bengal will help us win more than 300 seats," he said.
PM Modi also offered condolences to the BJP workers who had lost their lives in poll violence in West Bengal and said he sympathised with those who were injured and added that their sacrifice will result in the Mamata Banerjee and TMC being thrown out of power in the long run.
Attacking the TMC government, PM Modi said, "TMC is anti-democracy and anti-development."
West Bengal will see polling for nine seats of the state`s 42 seats on May 19 in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections. The counting of votes will begin on May 23.