Modi calls for building 'Team India'

Prime Minister asks states to work with Centre to take country forward

Modi calls for building 'Team India'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a vigorous pitch for the Centre and states to work together as ‘Team India’ to take the country forward, a view endorsed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

In comforting words to the fiery Trinamool Congress chief, Modi expressed confidence that West Bengal, whose progress, he said, had earlier determined the country’s economic development, would surely bounce back in the coming days and become an “important economic power”.

Vowing to work with the states to “take India forward”, the prime minister said it has been a “misfortune” that in the past there have been tensions between states and the Centre.

“I, too, have been a chief minister for many years and I know that this attitude (of the Centre) towards states will not help anyone. Our Constitution has given us a federal structure. But unfortunately, Centre-state relations have always come under stress,” he said after the inauguration of modernised IISCO Steel Plant here in the presence of Mamata.

Asserting that PM and CMs would act as a team which would take India forward, he said, “Delhi alone will not rule India as has happened for 60 years. Delhi will not be the only pillar on which the country will stand, but it will be supported by 30 pillars (of states)”. He cited the creation of Niti Aayog which has all states as partners.

Citing the recent Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh, Modi said it was the perfect example of the success of “Team India”.

“We are proud that the states of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura had worked with Delhi in addressing the vexed issue which had remained unsolved for the past 41 years since the time of Mujibur Rahman.

“If there is Team India, we can solve problems of international issues and internal ones very easily,” he said.

Turning to West Bengal, the prime minister said his government’s effort was to make eastern India powerful. “For this, West Bengal needs to be strengthened first.”

“Earlier, the economic development of India was decided by the progress made in Bengal... Bengal will have to climb the ladder of development in the interest of the nation,” said Modi.
“Bengal will surely bounce back in the coming days and become an important economic power,” he hoped, adding “if Bengal and Kolkata cannot become strong, then no part of the country can become strong”.

The prime minister said that political differences would remain, but it should not come in the way of country’s development.

Earlier, Mamata said, “If we can work together, the country moves ahead. When we divide, the country is doomed. We don’t want division among people. Politics will be there and development will also be there. The federal and central structure will be there and we will work together within the ambit of the Constitution.”

Modi also took a dig at the previous UPA regime, saying the media was full of reports of “scams” of all kinds in that period.

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