File image of PM Narendra Modi at the 150th anniversary of the Kolkata Port Trust | PTI
File image of PM Narendra Modi at the 150th anniversary of the Kolkata Port Trust | PTI
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Kolkata: In his first visit to West Bengal since he assumed office for the second time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi almost kicked off the BJP’s  election campaign in the state where elections are scheduled for 2021.  

The PM, who was on a two-day official trip, primarily to attend the Kolkata Port Trust’s 150th anniversary, invoked Mahatma Gandhi to defend the Citizenship Amendment Act, accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of non-cooperation, and championed his government’s initiatives such as Ayushman Bharat and the PM Kisan Kisan Samman Nidhi.  

Modi also renamed the port trust after the Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.    

PM cites Gandhi to defend CAA

The Prime Minister Sunday defended the Citizenship Amendment Act, which has sparked widespread protests across the country, saying his government was only “fulfilling the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi”.

According to Modi, Gandhi was among those who had backed granting citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan.

“The Citizenship Act was not brought overnight. We have only brought an amendment to the Citizenship Act and have made it easier for those who have suffered persecution in Pakistan, after Partition, to get Indian citizenship,” Modi said while addressing youths at the Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission in West Bengal’s Howrah district. 

The PM had spent the night at the Math and addressed students Sunday morning, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, which is also observed as International Youth Day.

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During his half an hour address, Modi said that had his government not brought in CAA, “nobody in the world would have ever known the kind of torture religious minorities face in Pakistan”.

He also accused opposition parties of “misleading the youth” on the controversial legislation. 

“A section of our young generation is still living in misconception. They are misled,” he said. “Political parties are misleading a generation to satisfy their vested interests. We should not fall for such false propaganda.” 

The PM also attempted to allay the fears of the North Eastern states on CAA. “We respect the North Eastern states’ culture and tradition. We will do everything to protect them,” he said. “We have made special arrangements for them.”


Also read: Modi-Shah’s BJP govt has failed India’s youth and is now stuck fighting them


PM names port trust after Syama Prasad Mukherjee 

The Prime Minister Sunday also announced that the Kolkata Port, the country’s oldest riverine port, will now be called the Syama Prasad Mukherjee port. Mukherjee had founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in West Bengal, which later became the BJP.

“This port will now be known by the name of Syama Prasad Mukherjee,” the prime minister said, saying that he had contributed immensely in industrialising Bengal. 

“It was unfortunate for the country that after Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee and Babasaheb Ambedkar resigned from the government, their suggestions were not implemented as they should have been,” Modi said, while addressing the gathering at the port trust’s 150th anniversary.

According to BJP leaders in Bengal, this is a major step by the PM to recognise the “efforts and contribution” of Mukherjee in securing “Kolkata and several parts of West Bengal” during Partition. 

They added that it is also a message to people of West Bengal that the BJP does not need to bring in “Hindi icons” as the BJP’s biggest ideologue is from Bengal. “Syama Prasad Mukerjee was pushed to oblivion in Bengal by the Congress, Left and now the Trinamool regimes. But PM is reviving our history,” said a senior BJP leader who was there at the event. 

Modi’s speech exalting Mukherjee comes a day after he quoted Rabindranath Tagore to claim that the country’s history had been written in a one-sided manner, ignoring crucial issues. 

“The way the Indian history has been written, it reflects how historians have completely overlooked a very important aspect of the time,” Modi had said Saturday. “Gurudev ( Tagore) in one of his pieces in 1903 wrote that the history we study for examinations is not the actual history of India.” 

“The history books say invaders came to India and how they fought for power. It is a history of fratricide and patricide. This is not our culture or our tradition,” he added. “Historians completely ignored what Indians were doing then? Did they not exist?”  

Cut-money, syndicates and Mamata Banerjee

Even as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act rocked the city for the two days that Modi was here, the Prime Minister Sunday still attacked the Trinamool Congress government in the state. 

Modi made a veiled attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing her government of repeatedly stalling central government health and social welfare schemes such as the Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. 

“Schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi benefit the poor and the farmers. The schemes will be implemented here if the state government allows them. But I have no idea when the government will do so,” the PM added at the sesquicentennial celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT).   

He, however, refrained from naming the chief minister, only adding, “May God bless all, may good sense prevail on the policy makers of Bengal.” 

He also said that his government’s direct money transfer schemes were disturbing some, in another indirect attack on the TMC whose leaders have been accused of demanding ‘cut-money’, a bribe for getting work done. 

“Financial benefits reach beneficiaries directly. There is no need to give any cut  to anybody and syndicates cannot play a role,” Modi said. “That is why many people are stalling such schemes.”


Also readIndia’s student protests have broken image of national consensus on Modi’s policies


 

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25 Comments Share Your Views

25 COMMENTS

  1. Singling out Pakistan as a source of persecution, as PM has done, may have made sense , but now the CAA has done incalculable damage to our relations with neighbours by naming Afghanistan and Bangladesh. IT is the unthinking and blind adherence to rash poll promises that has made BJP a laughing stock and more dangerously, a potent source of discord within the nation.

    • This had to happen. If India remains quiet, West Bengal will soon have Muslim majority. Problems which now happen in Bangladesh, will start in West Bengal.

    • RR is typical of people who change the topic when confronted with unpleasant facts. The topic of the comment was..please reread.

      As for your comment on Kejriwal, it is fine. Mamata too. But that was not being discussed here.

      And you can’t equate the use of bhakts with the use of dynastic slaves. The two are unrelated. Learn to discuss what is being discussed (a truism).

  2. Mr.Prime Minister !! don’t insult the name of Mahatma Gandhi !!You have no moral right to utter his name !!The people of India very much aware what Gandhiji taught us and you are doing the reverse in practice!! Also don’t underestimate the people of Bengal !! This is not Gujrat !!!

  3. Many years ago, father was an ex officio Trustee of Calcutta Port Trust. Siltation of the Hooghly River was a constant problem, which reduced the draft of the port. Then Haldia came up, with provision for deeper water to deal with larger ships. When a name changes, a bit of history dies.

    • What has change of name to do with siltation of the Kolkatta Port? Though I appreciate your emotional attachment with the Port due to your father’s association with it.

      • What he means is that he hates Modi and this BJP government and cannot wait till 2024, when Pawar and Shiv Sena get a chance to form the government and loot India. He prefers that to BJP’s tough and radical decisions.

        • Set aside lumpens, as an intelligent person don’t you think it is all about increasing the size of the pie. Corruption is the function of power. Will remain always. History shows even capital punishment could not curb this.

      • One hopes Bombay Port Trust – with which too father was associated, although not as a Trustee – will retain its name, now that Mughal Sarai has been given that honour.

      • Just to add, this is also called an attempt to create a ‘halo effect’ online…my father was trustee, I am CA, my son is from IIM-A and lives in Singapore and therefore we are wise know all. Well, sir, we too live in reputed hotbeds of liberalism and scientific research, and follow the world at close quarters. Come up with solutions rather than pontificating.

          • God bless her ashok JI, but please learn to talk straight. Call a spade a spade by name. Say I hate this government. Say that I want it to fail whatever initiatives it might take. We will not call it bias. Don’t go about in circles. If you feel that India should talk to Pakistan, support your arguments from history with instances where it helped. State facts how Mamta helped grow Bengal.

        • You are after Ashok again, RR. Bad boy! You need some spanking.

          Are you not able to see that Ashok is treating you guys as friends? That’s why he shares these details with you. He shouldn’t be doing it because you don’t deserve it.

          And where is he pontificating in the post above? I think you also have comprehension problems.

          • So what have I said that’s unfriendly Rajiv JI? He is telling his story and not offering arguments. I am just pointing that out. What’s unfriendly about it?

          • I could also have responded with “I don’t argue with kids like you” but that would be too patronising. Isn’t it? And please don’t spank your screen in anger just because you want to spank me.

          • No, RR. I didn’t throw any tantrums!

            I’m surprised that you didn’t yet note that Ashok doesn’t do arguments. It not his style. He just states his opinion.

            I’d you want arguments, some to me!

          • Sorry. Autocorrect in some mobiles is terrible.

            The last line above should read: if you want arguments, come to me!

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