Bengal situation akin to what Pandits faced in Kashmir: Modi

New Delhi, April 19
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday attacked the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, saying the state is witnessing violence as was seen in Kashmir in the eighties against Kashmiri Pandits and that the situation has to be taken seriously.

"The way Bengal is moving towards violence, the way those who perpetrate this are being shielded, there is a beginning of situation which the Kashmiri Pandits faced in the eighties. This has dangerous consequences and there is a need to look at it seriously," Modi said in an interview to Times Now news channel.

He referred to killing of a BJP worker during polling in the state on Thursday. Modi said Jammu and Kashmir, which is often in the news for violence has seen peaceful polling in the two phases of Lok Sabha election but there was violence in Bengal.

Asked if BJP was focusing on the state to make up for possible losses in Hindi heartland states, Modi said it was wrong to say the BJP was focusing on the state now and referred to his speech at the BJP national council meeting in 2013.

He said BJP believes that India can become a developed country only when development picks up pace in the eastern part of the country.

"Eastern India should be like western India in terms of growth. For this, Kolkata needs to be the epicentre of growth".

He said the Centre tried to help the Mamata Banerjee government, but development was "not their priority".

"They are just worried about their politics and their vote bank. Then, we realised that the only tribute to the great leaders of Bengal would be by way of developing the state. Bengal should become the driving force for growth in India. We are working in their direction," he said.

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