SONAMURA (TRIPURA): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it was time the people of Tripura chose a real HIRA after having trusted a wrong ‘manik’ for two decades.
Modi’s HIRA, which phonetically means diamond, expands to Highway, I-way, Roadway and Airway, while ‘manik’ which means gemstone in Bengali, the landlocked state’s official language, alludes to Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.
Without naming Sarkar, the Prime Minister called the long-time CM a big magician who concealed corruption and governance failure with the shroud of a fake identity.
“You have been wearing the wrong manik that pushed Tripura into darkness instead of shining. Only a real HIRA ensuring connectivity can bail out the state from Left Front-imposed gloom,” Modi said at the first of his two election rallies at Sonamura, 60 km south of state capital Agartala.
The PM then waded into Sarkar by referring to him as a white kurta-clad great magician who painted a make-believe image of spotlessness. “We know about a magician of Bengal (PC Sorcar), but the magician here is better at concealing facts to fool the people,” he said.
Sprinkling his speech with BJP’s slogan ‘Chalo paltai’ (Let’s change), Modi said Mandate 2018 would not be a fight between ‘misruling’ Left Front and BJP. “This is the people’s fight against the Left Front; they want change for Tripura to be rebuilt for a better future,” he said.
The PM also came down heavily on the Left Front government for involvement in Rose Valley chit fund scam that robbed poor people of their hard-earned money. The CBI had grilled one of Sarkar’s ministers for alleged involvement in the scam.
“For the past 25 years, the Left Front government kept tied the people in falsehood. People should punish it for all its misdeeds, failures, crimes and corruption such as Rose Valley scam, which made life for the common people miserable, even forcing some to commit suicide,” he said.
The PM accused the Marxist government of misusing funds provided by the Centre. The funds either lay unused or not accounted for, he said.
“The people have also been threatened that their ration and Aadhaar cards would be withdrawn if they do not vote for the Left Front. Write this down; we will make those who make such threats withdraw to the wilderness,” Modi said.
The PM touched upon Tripura’s failure in providing 7th Pay Commission awards too. “We also ensure minimum wages, not implemented in the state yet,” he said. Modi invoked Bir Bikram Manikya, the erstwhile king of Tripura who facilitated merger of the princely state of Tripura with the Indian Union. He said BJP believes in ushering welfare for people from diverse cultures.
The PM addressed a second rally at Kailashahar in Unakoti district of north Tripura.