Upping the ante against party rivals, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh on Monday asserted that his party if voted to power in the next assembly polls, will emulate Gujarat's growth model to usher in development in West Bengal.
Criticising the Left parties for alleged politicisation of the education system, Ghosh said Bengal, which once produced the finest scientists, doctors and engineers, is now churning out migrant labourers.
The CPI(M)-led Left front turned the state into a hub of migrant workers who would have to go to states like Gujarat for work, Ghosh alleged during a “chai pe charcha” session at Barasat in North 24 Parganas. "Didimoni (Mamata Banerjee) often says that we (BJP) are trying to turn Bengal into Gujarat, I say that we will certainly do so and turn it into a developed state. Our men and women don't have to go there for work. We will ensure employment opportunities are available here," he said. Bengalis do not make it to merit lists of competitive exams anymore, he added.
"The likes of Biman babu (Left Front chairman Biman Bose) and Buddha babu (former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya) have politicised the people of the state in a way that we (Bengal) now produce migrant workers who move to Gujarat for jobs, and not doctors, engineers or professors," the BJP state president said.
Reacting to Ghosh's assertion, the Trinamool Congress, which has time and again trained guns on the BJP over the 2002 communal violence, claimed that Gujarat is known for riots and encounters and not for development. "It's not development that we associate Gujarat with. Over 2,000 people were killed, encounter deaths of people like Ishrat Jahan have occurred. If Bengal is turned into Gujarat or UP, then here, too, people will get killed in encounters. We want our state to remain the way it is," senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim said.
Hakim, to drive home his point, also said that the Tata Nano factory which was set up in Gujarat has closed down, while the MSME sector in West Bengal was making good progress.
The Nano plant was moved to Sanand in Gujarat from Singur in West Bengal in 2008, following a prolonged agitation led by Mamata Banerjee, alleging forced acquisition of fertile land by the then Left Front government.
"Industries will come up in Bengal as the situation is favourable and the state has a stable government," Hakim said.
Echoing him, state panchayat minister and senior TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee contended that the BJP will never be able to realise its dream of winning Bengal polls, likely to be held in April-May next year.
"It is good to dream, but one should see to it that the dream does not turn into a nightmare," Mukherjee said.