Modi attacks Centre, Left; seeks to woo TMC
Raking up Centre's "discrimination" against non-Congress states, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today sought to reach out to his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee expressing confidence in her government's efforts to set right the "ruin" of the Left Front government.
In a speech to businessmen, Modi, widely seen as the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP in the next general elections, appeared to woo Trinamool Congress which was once a BJP ally and is seen as a potential friend in the coming days.
"What you see in Gujarat is a result of 12-13 years of hard work, not of one or two years. Congress had created such potholes that it took me so much time to fill them. In West Bengal, the Left government created these potholes for 32 years. I don't know how many years of efforts it will take before they are filled. I believe efforts are being made to fill these potholes and I am confident that the dreams of the people will be fulfilled," Modi said.
Outside the venue of his address, the Merchants Chamber of Commerce, Maoist sympathisers held protests against Modi's visit accusing him of representing communal forces and he had no no right to come to Kolkata.
BJP needs more allies to strengthen NDA and TMC is said to be on its radar especially after it broke off from the Congress-led UPA. But with Muslims forming a sizable 24 per cent of the West Bengal population, Banerjee is reportedly apprehensive about a tie-up with BJP, more so if Modi, who has the image of a Hindu hardliner, is the party's face in the Lok Sabha polls.
Modi used another issue to woo Banerjee by raking up the issue of 'discrimination' against non-Congress ruled states and maintained that the Centre was trying to demolish the federal structure.
"You (the Centre) have no right to discriminate. We cannot allow you to discriminate against the states. This crushes the aspirations of the people of these states," Modi said.
He claimed that when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was heading the NDA government, there was never a cry from West Bengal that it was being discriminated against and charged the Centre with having imposed an economic blockade on the state.
Taking potshots at the media, Modi said it was waiting for him to make a comment which would lead to comparisons between Gujarat and West Bengal but he was "not here for that".
He was also critical of "Delhi government's appointees"- an allusion to the Governors- and said whether people holding the gubernatorial posts agree or not, they have to go by the Constitution.
"The Centre is in a state of paralysis for the work which should be done and is highly enthusiastic about the work which should not be done," Modi said, adding that till the states do not raise their voice, the government will not reform itself.
"It is not watching the calender but the clock. It is on borrowed time," he said. He alleged that the UPA government takes all the credit for the good work carried out by the states.
Alleging that the discrimination was hurting the federal structure, the Chief Minister said, "Stopping this is important for the unity and integrity of India. The Centre will have to take all states along whoever is in power."
Targeting central ministers as "non-serious actors", Modi tried to hardsell Gujarat's achievements under his rule in the fields of agriculture, industry and use of modern technology.