Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced that the Kolkata Port will be renamed after the Bharatiya Jana Sangh's founder president Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
Modi made the announcement at the sesquicentenary celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust at the Netaji Indoor stadium which Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not attend.
"It is a significant day for Bengal and those connected with the Kolkata Port Trust. It is a historic port that saw India gain freedom and has been a witness to India's progress…. It will now be called Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee port," he said in his address at the packed stadium.
"This port represents industrial, spiritual and self sufficiency aspirations of India. Today, when the port is celebrating its 150th anniversary, it is our responsibility to make it a powerful symbol of New India," he said.
He also said that his government was taking every possible initiative for development of West Bengal.
"We're working towards increasing the number of cruises from 150 to 1000. This growth will also help West Bengal. Every possible initiative is being taken for the development of West Bengal by the central Government…The central government is also promoting cruise-oriented tourism," Modi said.
Mamata Banerjee who is in the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state, was expected to show up at the function but did not.
He criticized Banerjee's government for not implementing Ayushman Bharat medical insurance programme and PM Kisan Samaan scheme for farmers.
"Mamata Banerjee hasn't allowed Ayushman Bharat in West Bengal. There is no middlemen in our schemes. There are no syndicates, no cut money," he said in a reference to allegations corruption that plagued the TMC last year following revelations that its members had extorted money from the poor who tried to avail of government schemes.
Earlier in the morning at the Belur Math in Howrah, Modi had defended the CAA and accused the Opposition of misleading the people.
At the Kolkata Port Trust function, he made no mention of the CAA.
Protests continued on Kolkata for the second consecutive day on Sunday against the CAA, despite Modi's assurance that the new law would not harm the interests of any citizen.