Kolkata: After almost three months of having hastily calling off Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brigade rally which was slotted immediately after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s mammoth United India Rally, PM Narendra Modi tried to show Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s strength at Mamata’s home turfs, with his twin rallies, one in Silliguri and the other in Kolkata.
However, later it became a face-off of a kind between Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee, and the credit goes to Trinamool Congress (TMC) superemo as she cancelled her rally and arranged a public meeting immediately after Modi’s rally to counter the the attacks made by Prime Minister.
Meanwhile at the Brigade ground, right from having mega tents to shield the attendees from the scorching April sun to hiring four trains and a huge number of buses to ferry BJP supporters from different parts of the state, the BJP did it all to have a humongous footfall. However, despite all the efforts to not have empty seats at the Brigade rally, the four trains were spotted near-empty by many, But the many followers who came by buses were spotted sporting attires in sync with the party colour – saffron.
PM Modi too came prepared to attack ‘didi’ on her own turf. While addressing his first rally scheduled in Silliguri, he called Mamata as the speed breaker for Bengal’s success. He said, “But Bengal has a speed breaker, whom they call ‘didi’. This ‘didi’ is the speed breaker in the path of Bengal’s development.” He further added that it was her, who had made it impossible for the common people in Bengal from benefitting from Ayushman Bharat Scheme, which offers Rs 5 lakh health scheme to the beneficiaries.
However, when he reached Kolkata’s Brigade ground, the Prime Minister chose to target Congress and its manifesto first. He said, “The Congress Manifesto expires on May 23.” He further alleged that the grand old party had aversion for all the chowkidars in India, including those at the Indian borders. Following which he again scathingly attacked Mamata, saying that – aunt-nephew regime runs Bengal and that it was they who are stalling the state’s progress.
While criticizing his opposition, he highlighted the achievement of his own government in a unique way, by saying that it was not Modi but the common man who had made surgical strikes, Make In India and Digital India successful.
However, ‘didi’ who is known for having the last say, chose to have her Dinhati rally in Coochbehar, scheduled immediately after PM Modi’s Rally. Mamata, reached the venue in chopper. She was accompanied with Bengali Cinestar and fresh TMC recruit Nusrat Jahan, who will be contesting the Lok Sabha election from Bashirhat.
During the rally, Mamata, gave a point by point rebuttal of the allegations made by PM Modi during his Silliguri and Brigade Rally. She even dared him to engage in a public debate with her, either on television on a public platform. Terming him as ‘Expiry babu’ and ‘Expiry PM’ she said, “Modi lies, I don’t.”
She roared, “I am not claiming, your government has awarded us for this achievement.” While saying so she was hinting at the West Bengal Government being awarded by the Government of India for having implemented the 100-day minimum work guarantee scheme in the best possible way. The West Bengal government has also been awarded by the United Nations in 2017 for its Kanyashree programme.
She even dared the PM during her rally, saying, “Catch me if you can, touch me if you can.” She further added that she didn’t need to get a certificate in nationalism from the PM to prove her loyalty and love for her nation.
Many believe that this was a face-off of a kind between Modi and Mamata, who could be strong contender for the PM post, if the united opposition touches magic figure.