In Bengal, Modi on Mission Mamata

In an apparent bid to reach out to his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi on Tuesday targeted both the UPA at the Centre and the Left Front in the state. Echoing Ms Banerjee’s persistent complaint, Mr Modi also accused the UPA government of discriminating against non-Congress states. Again virtually echoing Ms Banerjee, he said the CPI(M)-led Left Front had ruined the state over 34 years, and it would the Trinamul government a long time to undo the damage.
In what must be sweet music to Ms Banerjee’s ears, Mr Modi said under her leadership West Bengal was going in the right direction and the dreams of Bengal’s people would soon come true.
Speaking on the “Vibrant Gujarat” growth model at a meeting hosted by several industry chambers, Mr Modi refused to draw any comparison between his state and West Bengal. “The media only wants Modi to talk on one aspect... I have not come here for this. I do that only during elections,” he said. He made it clear he was not in the city to criticise Ms Banerjee and her government. “I have come here as a student to learn,” he added.
Mr Modi said it was clear it would be difficult for West Bengal to achieve the same growth rate as Gujarat. “It took us 10 years to clean up the mess left by the Congress government. You can’t expect to do that here in just two years.”
Political experts see Mr Modi’s refusal to criticise the Bengal government as an attempt to keep options open for Trinamul’s return to the NDA fold.
Attacking the Left Front, Mr Modi said: “In the past 32 years they left the state with so many potholes! One does not know how many years and how much effort will be needed by the new government to heal these potholes. I am hopeful attempts are being made for rectification. I am definite Bengal’s people will realise their dreams.”
Mr Modi said West Bengal, like Gujarat, was being discriminated against by the Centre. “The Centre is discriminating between UPA and non-UPA ruled states. It is time states raise their voice against discrimination by the Central government.” He also castigated the UPA government for undermining the federal structure.
“During Vajpayee’s government, there was never a cry from Bengal that it was being discriminated against... Now that is happening,” Mr Modi said.

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