Updated: April 9, 2021 9:49:42 am
A day after the Election Commission served her a notice for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) with her appeal last week to minority voters not to divide their votes between different political parties, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she would continue to raise her voice against any attempt to divide voters on communal lines. She said the Election Commission may serve 10 show-cause notices on her but that won’t change her stance.
The TMC supremo, who addressed four back-to-back rallies during the day, sought to know why no complaint has been registered against BJP star campaigner and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that he often makes references to Hindu and Muslim vote banks while delivering speeches.
“You (EC) can issue 10 show-cause notices to me but my reply will be the same. I will always speak against any division of Hindu and Muslim votes,” the TMC chief said.
“Why is that no complaint has been filed against Narendra Modi, who talks about Hindu and Muslim (vote banks) every day? How many complaints have been lodged against those who had uttered the word ‘mini Pakistan’ during the Nandigram campaigns?” the CM contended.
Making light of Modi’s ‘Didi o Didi’ barb during his rallies, Banerjee said “Everyone has his or her own style of speaking, own rhetoric. Keep mocking me as many times as you want. But if you cross the lakshman rekha, it will only be a reflection of your personality.”
Speaking at a rally in Balagarh, Banerjee urged voters to “be on guard”, claiming that a section of Central forces may visit rural areas to intimidate peoples. “I have respect for the Central Paramilitary Forces, but this is also true that they are working on the instructions from Delhi. They are committing atrocities on villagers before the polling day, many of them are harassing women. They are asking people to vote for the BJP. We will not allow this to continue,” she said.
Asking the state police force to keep a vigil, she said, “Your job is to ensure free and fair polls, please be stern with trouble makers and keep your integrity intact.”
She also asked villagers to lodge FIRs at the local police stations in case of any excess is committed by the central forces. “If the police station refuses to accept the FIRs, inform us,” she added.
She also asked polling agents to be vocal and protest any “misdeed by the BJP and security forces”.
“If you wish to protect the oldest Durga puja in Guptipara (part of the Balagarh seat), if you wish to protect our festivals like Durga Puja, please ensure the defeat of BJP,” she added.
In Domjur, she hit out at her former minister Rajib Banerjee, who is now contesting from BJP, and called him a “traitor”. “I am sorry that I allowed Gaddar Mir Jafar to contest in the last election from this constituency on a TMC ticket. When he was the Irrigation Minister, I had received a complaint so I removed him from that post and made him Forest Minister… He has betrayed those who had voted for him in 2016. I am sorry I could not see his true colours back then,” she said.
Maintaining that the BJP has deployed men and machinery to hound political opponents, she claimed that national channels are also being forced to telecast news suiting the party’s interests.
Accusing the BJP of having imposed “article 356-like (President’s rule) situation” in Bengal, with the EC taking arbitrary decisions, Banerjee said “District magistrates and director generals of police have been removed. They have also asked a top retired police officer not to occupy any post after superannuation. However, the poll panel did not mind appointing retired officers to oversee elections here.”
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