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Mamata Banerjee: PM’s Matua ‘outreach’ vote marketing, against poll code

On a two-day tour to the neighbouring country, Modi on Saturday offered prayers at a temple, the birthplace of Matua community’s spiritual guru Harichand Thakur, at Orakandi in Bangladesh’s Gopalganj district.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 28, 2021 9:04:18 am
Mamata Banerjee newsChief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Bangladesh for “vote marketing” (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Bangladesh for “vote marketing” and his visit had violated the model code of conduct (MCC) in force for the West Bengal Assembly polls. She said she would complain to the Election Commission (EC).

Addressing a rally at Kharagpur in Paschim Medinipur, Banerjee said, “They (BJP) used to say that I have brought people from Bangladesh and encouraged infiltration. But he went to Bangladesh for vote marketing… The election is underway in our state and he… delivered a lecture on Bengal. It is a total violation of MCC.”

On a two-day tour to the neighbouring country, Modi on Saturday offered prayers at a temple, the birthplace of Matua community’s spiritual guru Harichand Thakur, at Orakandi in Bangladesh’s Gopalganj district. Between 2011 and 2016, Matuas, who trace their ancestry to Bangladesh, rallied behind the TMC. However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the community vote in North 24 Parganas and Nadia shifted to the BJP. According to experts, Matuas have direct or indirect influence in at least 70 Assembly seats in West Bengal. In its manifesto, the BJP has promised to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Citing the example of Bangladeshi actor Ghazi Abdul Noor who was served a “Leave India” notice for campaigning for the TMC in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee asked if Modi’s visa should be cancelled too. “In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when a Bangladeshi actor attended our rally, the BJP spoke to the Bangladesh government and got his visa cancelled. When the polls are underway here, you (Modi) went to Bangladesh to seek votes from one section of people. Why shouldn’t your visa be cancelled? We will complain to the EC.”

Banerjee said, “Some force came from Uttar Pradesh working under the direction of the Union Home Minister. I knew how our candidate was thrown out of booth. This is not legal.”

In his speech at Orakandi, Modi said his government would upgrade a girls’ school and set up a primary school in the area.

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