At Martyrs’ Day rally, Mamata accuses BJP of EVM tampering, horse-trading, lynchingshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/tmc-martyrs-rally-mamata-banerjee-bjp-lok-sabha-elections-5840274/

At Martyrs’ Day rally, Mamata accuses BJP of EVM tampering, horse-trading, lynchings

The Bengal Chief Minister termed the BJP’s Lok Sabha win as a ‘mystery’ and alleged that manipulation of EVMs, pressing in of central forces and doling out of cash were the means by which BJP was able to win seats not on in Bengal but throughout the country.

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Mamata Banerjee spoke at the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata’s Dharmatala. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Sunday launched a scathing attack on the BJP alleging that the ruling party at the Centre is indulging in horse-trading throughout the country.

While speaking at the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata’s Dharmatala, Banerjee said, “They (BJP) are indulging in horse-trading everywhere. They are trying to break (governments) in Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states. If you go on indulging yourself in such activities, one day your back will break and you will never be able to rise up again,” she said.

“Here I was talking to an MLA who switched over to BJP. He said the BJP offered him Rs 2 crore and a petrol pump for joining,” she added. “I have seen governments at the Centre. Be it the government of Rajiv Gandhi or Deve Gowda or even Atal ji. But I have never seen a government like this.

Bills are being planned in the dead of night and are placed (in parliament) in the morning. No one is being consulted or informed. The federal structure is being bulldozed. Rajiv Gandhi got 40 seats yet could not run the parliament. Opposition deserves the credit that the parliament is running now.”

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People gather at Dharmatala ground ahead of Trinamool’s Martyrs’rally in Kolkata, Sunday. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

“People now have doubts whether this government will stay for five years or fall in the next two years,” she added. “After this government came to power, prices of LPG and petroleum was hiked. Throughout the country, Dalits, minorities, even Hindus, were killed. BJP believes in divisive politics,” she pointed out referring to the recent killings in Sonbhadra. “Dalits were killed in Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka Gandhi was not allowed to visit them. We sent a delegation who were stopped by the police there,” she said.

Alleging that the central government has planned disinvestments of 1.3 lakh crore, she said, “We will start an agitation with the slogan ‘Becho India’.”

The Bengal Chief Minister termed the BJP’s Lok Sabha win as a ‘mystery’ and alleged that manipulation of EVMs, pressing in of central forces and doling out of cash were the means by which BJP was able to win seats not on in Bengal but throughout the country.

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A sea of people at the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata, Sunday. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

“I still believe that the results of the polls (Lok Sabha) is a mystery. We want ballot papers to be returned and not EVMs. Why are EVMs not used in countries like US, UK, France and Germany and even European countries? During the polls (Lok Sabha), they (BJP) doled out cash and pressed in central forces,” said Mamata Banerjee.

Speaking on the cut money issue in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee announced that party will hit the streets and the booths demanding the return of black money from the BJP. “We said that all government schemes should reach people. But the BJP leaders, who themselves are thieves and dacoits, started shouting about cut money return.”

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Trinamool Congress supporters with cutouts of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Martyrs’ Day rally at Kolkata’s Dharmatala. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

She said her party will announce a major political programme on July 26. “We will visit the booths and ask for the return of black money which BJP had collected during demonetisation.

“How much foreign funds they got? Where did they get the money for election expenditure?” said Mamata Banerjee, adding that the administration would take steps against the BJP workers who are attacking the TMC workers over cut money.

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TMC supporters at the Martyrs’ Day rally with an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

“There is a Ujjawala scam in Bengal where BJP leaders are involved. Action will be taken. We have all the documents and information,” she said.

Explained | Reading Trinamool Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata: Here’s what to look out for

She also asked her party leaders to hit the grass-root level and strengthen the booth-level organisation. “BJP just got 18 seats in the state and are shouting now. They are grabbing party offices and targeting our workers. We have got a majority of 24 seats. One should not forget this,” she warned.

She also alleged that the BJP is trying to impose their religious belief on people and create Hindu-Muslim divide. “They are trying to thwart their gods on the people and create Hindu-Muslim divide. Here, we worship Maa Durga, Maa Kali and Lord Shiva. They do not even know our Bengali culture and broke the bust of Vidyasagar. We will fight every inch of political space in Bengal,” Banerjee warned.

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Different moods of people at the Martyrs’ Day rally, Sunday. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)

She also took a dig at Left and Congress for tacitly supporting BJP in Bengal.“They (BJP) had got the signboards of both CPI(M) and Congress. They all are working together here. CPI(M) goons are now working on behalf of BJP and targeting our workers,” she said.

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Martyr’s Day is an annual event in the TMC calendar to commemorate the 13 people killed in police firing during a political demonstration led by Mamata, who was then a Youth Congress leader. However, this year the rally was held in the backdrop of the Lok Sabha polls, where the Trinamool lost considerable ground to the BJP, which has emerged as a powerful political force in West Bengal, and the main challenger to the ruling dispensation.