With less than a week left for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing a public rally in north Bengal's Cooch Behar on Sunday, April 7, four days after his twin rallies in Siliguri and Kolkata. Apart from Bengal, PM Modi is scheduled to address rallies in Tripura's Udaipur and Imphal in Manipur.
In Cooch Behar, PM Modi is set to address a public gathering at 10:00 am whereas, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will address two public rallies in the state. The first rally of Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to be held in Chura Bhandar in Jalpaiguri at 1:30 pm. Didi will address the second rally in Alipurduar district of West Bengal at 3 pm.
Though PM Modi and Banerjee will never share the same stage, both the leaders will address their supporters at the sprawling Rash Mela ground -- the biggest rally venue in Kolkata - near the Cooch Behar Palace at the same field 24 hours apart. PM Modi on Sunday. Mamata Banerjee on Monday (April 8).
The Lok Sabha constituency of Cooch Behar will go the hustings along with the neighbouring Alipurduar seat on April 11, during the first phase of polling in the state. PM Modi is expected to address issues like border security, infiltration, refugee rights and law and order problems besides continuing his tirade against Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress government during his speech at the border district.
Modi vs Mamata
The two opposing parties locked horns over building the stage at the rally venue after the Trinamool initially refused to stop building the temporary shade for the attendees at the Chief Minister's rally on Monday, which would have occupied nearly half of the rally ground. According to the BJP's local leaders, the cloud of uncertainty has cleared out after the local Trinamool leaders held talks with the Special Protection Group team that visited the spot on Friday and agreed to dismantle the structure partially.
"Initially there was a disagreement over building the dais as they (Trinamool) refused to dismantle the temporary shade from the ground. They have been intentionally occupying the ground since long in the name of the Chief Minister's rally. But they have now agreed to partially remove the structure, after coming under pressure from the people of Cooch Behar," Malati Rava, BJP's district chief, told IANS. She said there is "unprecedented enthusiasm" among people as PM Modi will be the first Prime Minister to visit the town after Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s.
"It was a long-standing demand of the people of Cooch Behar town. None of the Prime Ministers have addressed a public rally after Rajiv Gandhi. They are extremely enthusiastic over tomorrow's meeting as Modiji has agreed to come. The turnout will be massive," she said.
PM Modi on Congress
Addressing multiple rallies ahead of the general elections, PM Modi on Saturday compared the Congress to the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic, saying that the day is not far when it will be lost to the world forever. "The condition of the Congress is just like the Titanic: it sinks a little deeper with each passing day. And the ones sitting in the ship with the Congress are either drowning along with it like the Nationalist Congress Party or are running for their lives," PM Modi said at a public gathering in Maharashtra's Nanded.