West Bengal Assembly elections | BJP will destroy Bengal’s culture: Rahul Gandhi


Promise of a ‘sonar Bangla’ is just a mirage and the party wants to divide the State, says Rahul Gandhi

Describing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) promise of a “sonar Bangla” (golden Bengal) as a “mirage” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the BJP is out to destroy the culture of West Bengal.

“Wherever the BJP goes, Narendra Modi goes, the RSS goes, they start spreading hatred and start dividing the people,” Mr. Gandhi said while addressing a rally in Darjeeling district of the State.

Mr. Gandhi, who started his poll campaign in West Bengal three days before the fifth phase of the election, said the Congress’s fight against the BJP is at an ideological level and the party will never back down from the fight. The Congress is part of the Samyukta Morcha, where it has entered into an alliance with Left parties and the Indian Secular Front for the ongoing Assembly election. Congress is contesting 92 out of the 294 Assembly seats, most of which will go to polls from the fifth to the eighth phase.

“There is a big danger before you. The day BJP is able to establish its ideology in West Bengal, the State will be on fire … The ideology of the RSS and the BJP is a danger for the State of West Bengal,” the Congress leader said at a public meeting in Darjeeling district.

Mr. Gandhi alleged that the BJP wants to destroy West Bengal’s culture and heritage and divide it. “In Assam, they are doing the same thing; in Tamil Nadu, they are trying to do the same thing with their alliance partner AIADMK,” he said.

Later, speaking at Goalpokhar in Uttar Dinajpur, the Congress MP said the Congress will not only contest polls but will also warn the people of the State of the dangers posed by the BJP.

“We are not contesting the election here. We are trying to protect the future of Bengal. I am not here to give a speech for the eelction, what I am trying to tell you is that if a divide is created, the people of the State are going to suffer the most,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi also targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and accused her of allowing corruption in the State. The Congress leader said West Bengal is the only State where people have to pay in advance to get jobs.

Criticising the “cut money” culture in West Bengal, Mr. Gandhi said, “Lakhs of people from the State have to venture out in search of jobs, neither Modi is giving jobs nor Mamata ji. This is the only State where you have to pay cut money in advance to get jobs.”

Mr. Gandhi also came down heavily on Trinamool’s poll slogan “Khela Hobe” (game will be played) and said the party should address infrastructural gaps in the State instead of raising such slogans.

The Congress leader also sought to distinguish between the Trinamool Congress’s opposition of the BJP and that of his own party. “The BJP wants Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India). They do not have a problem with the Trinamool,” said Mr. Gandhi. He also pointed out that Mamata Banerjee has allied with the BJP in the past, but the Congress will never do so.

“We have never aligned with the BJP and the RSS. Our fight is not just political but ideological too. For Mamata ji, it is just a political fight,” he said.



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