Kolkata, Feb 5 IANS | 11 months ago

Keeping the doors open on an alliance with the Trinamool Congress, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Wednesday said West Bengal would benefit if people voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls even as Mamata Banerjee continued to usher in development in the state.

Congratulating the people of West Bengal for throwing out the Left Front - which ruled the state from 1977 to 2011 - Modi said: "Parivartan, parivartan, parivartan (change, change, change). You all wanted it for your dear life. I would like to ask you has parivartan come? Do you perceive parivartan? Do you see parivartan?"

Urging the people to elect Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates on all 42 Lok Sabha seats from the state, Modi said Bengal cannot reap the full benefits of governance if only the state government works.

"For working for Bengal, you need your government in Delhi too. Give us a chance to serve Bengal. I will work for the state's development. It will be a double bonanza for you. Mamataji here, and me sitting in Delhi.

"In fact, it will be a triple bonanza, as Pranabda (President Pranab Mukherjee who is from the state) too is occupying the top office in Delhi," Modi said in his address at a rally at the Brigade Parade grounds here.

Banerjee's Trinamool was in alliance with the BJP from 1998 to 2006, save for a few months in 2001. Banerjee had also served as minister for railway and coal in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

The BJP, eyeing a return to power at the centre after 10 years, is looking for partners to expand the National Democratic Alliance it leads, with opinion polls and surveys indicating a hung verdict in the general elections.

The Gujarat chief minister said that while the people of Bengal should ask the Banerjee regime daily what it has done for the state, they can also ask him the same if they vote him to power in Delhi.

"You will have laddoos in both hands. But if you don't vote for me, how can you question me on what I have done? And if you vote for me, won't I feel like coming to the state at short intervals? Won't I feel more encouraged," he told the rally.

Regretting the state's decline over the years, Modi said there was power crisis, high unemployment, low agricultural growth, no new industries were coming up and workers were unhappy.

"I have come here with the resolve to bring change in Bengal. We will re-create Sonar Bangla (the golden age in Bengal)," he said.

Modi claimed that only 60 percent of the schools had electricity, while women felt unsafe.

In his bid to dispel criticism from other parties about the condition of Muslims in his state, Modi said Gujarat received 37,000 applications from those wishing to go on Haj pilgrimage against a quota of 4,500.

"But in West Bengal, as against a quota of 11,600, the number of applications was 12,000."

Attacking the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front and other parties which are trying to forge a third front, Modi said: "They talk of secularism during election time. These proprietors of secularism play vote bank politics, they never consider minorities as human beings."

(Posted on 05-02-2014)

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