Updated: April 6, 2021 7:58:58 am
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday criticised the Election Commission for holding the elections in West Bengal in eight phases, and said she would oppose any move to stop the polls amid rising Covid-19 cases.
Banerjee accused the BJP of injuring her to stop her from campaigning but added that she would win the elections “with one foot” and win Delhi in future “with two feet”. The chief minister had suffered a leg injury on March 10 on the campaign trail in Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district.
“They [EC] are conducting polling in one phase in two states, but there are eight phases in West Bengal. They may conspire and stop the election mid-way citing Covid-19. But I will not allow them to do so. The election must be completed in Bengal,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Hooghly district’s Chinsurah area.
She added, “The BJP injured my leg to prevent me from campaigning but they don’t know that I am winning Bengal with one foot and with two feet I will win Delhi in the future.”
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief also lashed out at the Indian Secular Front (ISF) formed by Furfura Sharif cleric Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui. The ISF, which is contesting the election as part of the United Front alliance along with the Left Front and the Congress, was “more dangerous than a cobra”, the chief minister said.
Without naming Siddiqui, Banerjee said at a rally in Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, “A traitor has emerged from Furfura Sharif who has taken money from the BJP. You must remember that you cannot win in Bengal through treachery.”
Banerjee asked people not to vote for the ISF candidate as every vote for the new party would result in gains for the BJP. South 24 Parganas has a significant Muslim population.
“Some say I appease the Muslims. I tell them that both Hindus and Muslims are living well since I am there. It would not have been the case had I not been there,” said the TMC chief. She claimed the CPI(M) and the Congress were the BJP’s friends, and referring to the ISF said another party had surfaced to eat into the TMC’s minority vote share.
Tearing into Siddiqui, Banerjee said, “Has he suddenly become the leader of minorities with the BJP’s money? He is making communal statements.”
Lashing out at the ISF and AIMIM, she claimed the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan lost in Bihar because of such parties, and the Samajwadi Party (SP) too lost the elections in Uttar Pradesh. “They are more dangerous than a cobra,” she added.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the chief minister said, “So many jawans were killed by the Maoists [in Chhattisgarh] but unfortunately our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are busy in ‘dangabazi [rioting]’ and dividing Bengal,” Banerjee said in Chinsurah, adding, “I will not allow ‘Gujaratis’ to rule Bengal because Bengal will be governed by a Bengali and not by any Gujarati.”
The TMC chief mocked the principal Opposition party and said the BJP could not find candidates and hence got most of them from the TMC and the CPI(M). Without naming Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee, she asked why the BJP had fielded a parliamentarian in the Assembly polls.
“Why have they fielded an MP? I will tell you why. They have fielded an MP because they don’t trust the local people in Chinsurah. I know she is going to lose from Chinsurah. In the future, they will field their MPs and MLAs for municipality polls, panchayat polls, school board polls,” Banerjee said.
The chief minister said she wanted to provide Covid vaccines free of cost in Bengal, and claimed that Modi had ignored her request. “I requested PM Modi to provide us with vaccines and told him that we will purchase the vaccines from designated points on a top-priority basis because I wanted to provide vaccination to people free of cost. But unfortunately, they didn’t give us the vaccines. You know why? They didn’t give us the vaccines because these two people [Modi and Shah] want to kill all of us, because only they want to rule the country,” she added.
Accusing the BJP of indulging in divisive politics, the TMC chairperson said people from other states were coming and “creating problems” during the polls. “They don’t even know the culture of Bengal. They know how to play with blood and now they are here to play their dirty politics. We have to unite against evil forces like BJP. They came to Bengal to divide us. You voted for BJP [in 2019 Lok Sabha] and they cheated you. They gave you nothing. We are giving you free ration, and the BJP government at the Centre is increasing the price of LPG. Today, on behalf of all the people, I demand that the Centre should provide free LPG gas to all.”
Banerjee said she does not care about Modi calling her “Didi o didi” in a tone that some TMC women leaders have described as mocking and leering. “He does this every day, I don’t care.”
The TMC chief told party workers that she does not need weak polling agents, and added that if anyone was not ready to be an agent she would get women “who can fight against evil”.
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