Reaching out to the people of West Bengal during a Durga Puja event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said though it was being celebrated on a limited scale due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, people’s enthusiasm was still unlimited.
People of West Bengal have made India proud, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a virtual address as part of Durga Puja celebrations on October 22.
The prime minister recalled the contributions of reformers from Bengal like Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, spiritual leaders Ramkrishna Paramhans and Swami Vivekananda, cultural giant Rabindranath Tagore, and revolutionaries like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Khudiram Bose in shaping India's national identity.
Durga Puja, he said, was the epitome of pluralism and reflected the collective strength of India. The BJP had made elaborate arrangements for live viewing of the prime minister's virtual address from New Delhi.
The event was televised live at over 78,000 polling booths across West Bengal's 294 assembly constituencies. The state is expected to head for assembly elections in April-May 2021. BJP has already made political inroads into West Bengal, a state where it has not been strong traditionally.
Reaching out to the people of West Bengal during the state's biggest festival, PM Modi said though it was being celebrated on a limited scale due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, people’s "enthusiasm is still unlimited".
Noting that Goddess Durga was worshipped as a symbol of 'Shakti (strength)’, the prime minister reaffirmed his government's commitment to women's empowerment. The event was organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Highlighting his government’s initiatives for women, the prime minister said 22 crore Jan Dhan accounts had been opened for women, soft loans are being given to them under the Mudra Yojana, women are being granted permanent commission in the armed forces and maternity leave has been extended from 12 to 26 weeks.
PM Modi also said anti-rape laws were made more stringent to include the death penalty. "We are alert towards the security of women," he said. This remark came against the backdrop of a string of incidents of rape and murder of women, including the Hathras incident that triggered outrage against the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.(With inputs from PTI)