**Agartala: ** Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that with help from the Bangladesh government, and by using their ports and other infrastructure, Tripura would become the gateway to Southeast Asian countries.
Apart from its 165 km border with Assam and Mizoram, Tripura is all surrounded by Bangaladesh with which it shares a 856 km border.
Addressing a public rally at the Swami Vivekananda Stadium here, the Prime Minister said that a spate of development projects in the state would turn Tripura into the best state in the country.
However, in his 25-minute speech in Hindi, he did not for once refer to the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill against which massive agitations were going on in the entire northeastern region, including Tripura.
Three CPI-M MPs of the state and the Tripura Student Federation (TSF) boycotted the Prime Minister’s programmes on Saturday as a mark of protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Congress also displayed black flags and released black balloons in the city on the same issue.
Lashing out at the opposition parties’ ‘Mahagatbandhan’ (grand alliance), the Prime Minister, without naming the Congress, said the party which led the Central government for more than 55 years are now keen to form a ‘majboor’ (desperate) government while the Bharatiya Janata Party would form a ‘mazboot’ (strong) government after the upcoming general elections.
“Instead of looking into various issues, they (opposition parties) are only giving ‘gali’ (abuse) to Modi. It seems an Olympics is going on to deride me,” the Prime Minister said.
“While coming to Agartala city from the airport, I saw cheerful faces of the people as they are now free from the clutches of the previous government’s rule after 25 years,” he said, without naming the former Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front government.
Modi said that huge amounts were earlier sanctioned by the Centre for many projects and schemes, but the previous government in the state siphoned off the funds.
“They (CPI-M led Left Front) only did politics with the people, especially with the poor and the working class. Earlier, people belonging to only one party were benefited. But now the government benefits are for all and are very transparent.”
Elaborating his government’s welfare measures, the Prime Minister said the Central government has recently taken steps to empower the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) for the all-round development of the tribals in the state.
Before his rally, Modi dedicated a 23.32 km railway track in southern Tripura to the nation and inaugurated the new complex of Tripura Institute of Technology (TIT) at Narsingarh, near here.
He also released a book written in Hindi and Bengali by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Tripura’s last king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (ruled 1923-1947).
In his address, Deb thanked the Prime Minister for increasing the allocation for northeastern states by 21 per cent in the interim Budget.
Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma also spoke on the occasion.