KOLKATA: Sounding the poll bugle ahead of the crucial 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Durga Puja organised by the BJP’s Bengal unit virtually and delivered a speech through webcast in which he showcased how the Centre’s schemes benefited the women and men in Bengal.
This was the first time in the history of Bengalis’ biggest festival, a Prime Minister has inaugurated a Durga Puja which was organised by the BJP’s Bengal unit. It is said to be a well designed political move to woo the Bengali speaking electorates at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on several occasion, has labelled the BJP as a political party of non-Bengalis and an outsider.
Modi’s 30-minute speech was focused on the Bengali’s sentiment, culture and history. He started his speech in Bengali l and before wrapping up, he sought apology if there was any wrong pronunciations.
"The power of maa Durga and devotion of the people of Bengal is making me feel like I am present in the auspicious land of Bengal. The sweetness in Bengali language is such that I couldn’t resist myself from speaking this beautiful language among the people of Bengal,’’ Modi said in Bengali.
For the first time in the history of the state's major religious festival, a Durga Puja is being organised under the banner of a political party. The BJP’s Bengal chapter organised the puja at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre’s building in Salt Lake which is under the Union ministry of Culture.
Reminding the role of Bengali personalities in freedom movement, science, art and culture, Modi also used the opportunity to highlight the Centre’s role in benefiting the people of Bengal. "More than 90 lakh household were benefitted through Ujjwala Yojona, 30 lakh houses have been constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojona, four crore people have taken advantage of Jan Dhan Account. Besides, Rs 8,500 crore has been sanctioned for the East West Metro project in Kolkata,’’ the Prime Minister said.
Referring to Goddess Durga’s image among Bengalis as their daughter who visits parental home during this festive session, the Prime Minister reminded how the Centre introduced stringent laws for the safety of women and capital punishment in case of heinous rape.
Inviting the people of Bengal to make the mission Atmanirbhar Bharat successful, Modi said, ‘’We will have to move with mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. West Bengal has to play a significant role in Purvodaya. Have to meet objective of Sonar Bangla.’’
On several occasions, BJP leaders including Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah, in their speeches, urged the Bengal’s electorates to overthrow the TMC-led government and bring the BJP in power to build ‘Sonar Bangla’.
Modi’s puja inauguration and his speech on the day of Sashthi, the sixth day of Navaratri is said to be BJP’s big push for the assembly poll slated to be held next year. ‘’Durga Puja is the biggest festival in the state. Bengali’s sentiment is deeply rooted with worshipping Goddess Durga. Prime Minister’s participation in this festival will definitely secure electoral dividend in the coming election,’’ said a senior BJP leader.