Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday wooed the tribal communities in Bengal and unleashed a multi-pronged attack on state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during his election rally in the state's tribal heartland Jhargram, where the BJP had made inroads in the 2018 rural body polls.In a bid to consolidate the saffron party's tribal vote base in the Jangalmahal area where polling will be held in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 12, Modi talked at length about Central schemes such as the Van Dhan Yojana and the National Bamboo Mission.The Jangalmahal area comprises Purulia, West Midnapore, Jhargram and parts of Bankura and Birbhum districts."None of the previous non-BJP governments thought about you people. It was the government led by the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee which first created a new Ministry to safeguard the rights of the tribals. Taking inspiration from him, the current government has increased the budget for tribal welfare by 30 per cent besides introducing many welfare schemes which can benefit you in many ways," Modi said."We will ensure concrete houses and LPG connections for every tribal family by 2022. We will also ensure that our tribal brothers and sisters get nutritious food and vaccination facility. Don't pay heed to the rumours spread by the opposition parties. I can assure you that the rights of the tribal communities will not be attacked," he said.As per the statistics received from the state Chief Electoral Office (CEO), in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had received 20 per cent vote from the Jangalmahal districts.
In the 2018 panchayat elections, the vote share of the saffron party surged as it won nearly 30-40 per cent of the seats in Jhargram, Bankura and Purulia, defeating the ruling Trinamool Congress.The BJP secured 329 gram panchayat seats in Jhargram against Trinamool's 372, while in Purulia's Balarampur, the saffron outfit won 18 out of the 20 panchayat samiti seats."The people of Jhargram and Midnapore had shown the way to stop the goons and hoodlums of the Trinamool Congress during the panchayat elections. Many of our workers have been heckled and attacked since then. Vote silently for the lotus this time. Our party and the people of Bengal are with you," Modi said in a bid to consolidate his party's grip in the region.A day after Trinamool supremo Banerjee held a meeting in the district and claimed that the Modi government had done nothing to curb Maoist violence in the area, Modi accused the Trinamool government of misusing central funds and providing poor quality food grains to the tribals.Terming Banerjee as "anti-poor", the Prime Minister alleged that she was depriving the tribals in Bengal of the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme as her party's "agents" will not be able to take the cut money.He also claimed that the Bengal government was deliberately not providing the list of the poor farmers from the state who could benefit from the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana which provides Rs 6,000 per annum directly to the bank accounts of the farmers.