Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Tuesday attacked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party Trinamool Congress and accused them of “propagating violence and poverty” in the state. Shah urged citizens to bring to power a government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in order to give the state a chance to become “Shonar Bangla” (golden Bengal) once again.

“What happened to Bengal? Where did Shonar Bangla go?” he asked at an election rally in East Midnapore district. “Bengalis in India are looking for it today. All are looking at Bengal.”

Shah said that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections were not for reelecting Modi, but a chance for the “re-formation of Shonar Bangla”.

“Every fifth person in Bengal is poor and has no access to food,” he claimed. “Can West Bengal develop from this state? Didi [Banerjee] has propagated poverty and violence, along with syndicate.”

Shah claimed Banerjee had withdrawn from the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat health scheme as she was scared of losing her popularity in comparison with Modi. “Mamata has stolen the right of the people of Bengal by taking away Ayushman Bharat from them,” he said. “It would have provided healthcare up to Rs 5 lakh to the poor. But she stole it from the people.”

On January 10, Banerjee had announced that the state would not contribute to the health scheme, asking why West Bengal was expected to fund a part of the programme when Modi was allegedly claiming credit for it.

Shah said that Banerjee should inform the people whether she would support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha or not, ANI reported. “They [Trinamool Congress] welcome infiltrators and Rohingyas but there’s no place here for the refugees who came to save themselves,” he said. “I would like to tell all the refugees in Bengal that BJP and the Narendra Modi government will grant them the citizenship.”

Several vehicles parked near the venue of the rally were vandalised, with the BJP blaming the Trinamool Congress for the attack, the Hindustan Times reported. “The TMC [Trinamool] is afraid of our strength, that’s why they committed violence,” said BJP leader Rahul Sinha. “It is unfortunate that everything happened in front of the police. Attackers didn’t even spare women workers.”

Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP’s general secretary in-charge of West Bengal, said the attack would cost Banerjee “dearly”. “We want to warn Mamataji that BJP workers can neither be scared nor cowed down with these kind of acts,” he said. “This will cost Mamata dearly.”

‘After 2G, we have Priyanka G’

Shah mocked Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s decision to join active politics and said a government run by a dynasty could not serve the people, but could only provide a “majboor [helpless] government”, PTI reported.

“During the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] rule, we had witnessed huge scams, such as 2G,” he said. “Now the third G has jumped on the bandwagon... now we have Priyanka G [Gandhi]. Now, they [Congress] want to add 2G and the third G and indulge in more corruption.”

The Congress on January 23 had appointed Vadra its general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East). She is expected to take charge from the first week of February.

In Odisha, BJP chief slams Naveen Patnaik

Earlier in the day in Odisha, Shah criticised the ruling Biju Janata Dal and claimed that the state remained backward due to “inefficiency” and “inaction” on the part of the Naveen Patnaik government.

“The Narendra Modi government has come out with Ayushman Bharat Yojna, which would benefit 50 crore people in the country. Why can’t Odias take benefit of the scheme?” The Hindu quoted him as saying. “The state government makes different excuses to deny the scheme to its people.”

Addressing BJP workers at Kulia in Cuttack district, Shah claimed that the BJP would come back to power at the Centre because the party had worked for the welfare and development of the poor and those belonging to Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.