Even Mamata knows only one who can do things is me: Moditext_fields
Kolkata: Lending his voice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's lament about the lack of banking facilities in rural areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said even she believed it is only him who can improve things.
On his first visit to Bengal after taking over as prime minister, Modi kickstarted the "Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana" (accident insurance), "Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana" (life insurance) and "Atal Pension Yojana" at the sprawling Nazrul Mancha here in presence of Banerjee and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim among others.
While there was a visible bonhomie between the two leaders - who have been more in the news for their high-octane and often spiteful verbal duels in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls last year - both Modi and Banerjee indulged into political one-upmanship during the event attended by several state BJP and Trinamool leaders along with central and state government officials.
Without taking any names, Modi took a dig at the Congress after Banerjee rued the lack of banking facilities in rural areas and called for setting up a bank in all the gram panchayats of the country.
"Mamataji is saying there are no banks in villages. Well this is a result of 60 years," said Modi as the audience at the Nazrul Manch, the venue of the event, burst in laughter.
"Her pain is quite natural. I also lend my voice to that. I share her pain. But she raised the matter in my presence as she too knows that if someone can do it, then it is this person," said Modi amid loud cheers.
The bonhomie between the two leaders was visible from outset as Modi after taking his seat, gestured to Banerjee to take the seat kept for her next to him. He also made the way for her to take the seat. Both leaders were seen chatting during the event.
Even as she lauded the central schemes, Banerjee used the occasion to tom-tom her government's social security schemes and even pointed out that her pet 'Kanyashree' project had a bigger budget than the central 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'.
"When the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme has Rs.100 crore budget. our Kanyashree has a fund of Rs.1,000 crore with 24 lakh girls being the beneficiaries," said Banerjee who has been hitting out at the central government for slashing budgets of social security schemes.
"Besides the Kanyashree, we have many schemes for workers from the unorganised sector, farmers, construction workers, etc. I hope these new schemes will only add to their welfare," she added.
Known for her strident anti-central government stand and frequent allegations that Bengal was being deprived by New Delhi, Banerjee sung a different tune, stressing on the centre and the states working together on development programmes.
"While programmes are launched, often, due to lack of coordination and negligence they are not implemented properly and the advantage often don't reach the beneficiaries.
"If the centre and state work together on development programmes, then it augurs well for India as well the states," added Banerjee.
Banerjee later held a meet with Modi at the Raj Bhavan.