Updated: April 12, 2021 2:23:04 pm
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday urged people not to vote for “trigger-happy BJP”, and alleged that the death of four voters at the hands of security forces in Jorpatki village in Cooch Behar district’s Sitalkuchi area the day before was the “result of a conspiracy” hatched by the Opposition party to intimidate voters.
Apart from the four men shot dead by the central forces at booth number 125, an 18-year-old man voting for the first time was killed by unidentified gunmen at another polling station in Sitalkuchi on Saturday.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has claimed that its personnel were forced to fire in self-defence after being surrounded by a mob who wanted to snatch their weapons. Banerjee, who addressed three rallies in Jalpaiguri district on Sunday, questioned the security force’s version and said, “If you think someone is causing a nuisance, speak to him, you also have lathis. How can you suddenly point your gun at the torso and neck of voters?”
The TMC chief, who observed a “black day” by wearing a black stole, claimed that “for every bullet, the reply will be given in votes”. “Come out in large numbers to cast your vote, exercise your democratic rights to defeat the trigger-happy BJP. The Cooch Behar incident was a result of a conspiracy hatched by the saffron camp,” the chief minister said in Nagrakota.
In Rajganj, the chief minister claimed she had videos of some BJP leaders defending the central forces after the incident. “I have video footage that shows some BJP leaders are speaking in favour of the central forces after the firing incident. You [BJP leaders] don’t feel sad if sons die in other families. What if it had happened to someone in your family?”
Continuing her criticism of the saffron party, Banerjee told voters, “They [BJP] want to win West Bengal forcefully and turn it into Gujarat. They will snatch all of your belongings. You will do not have money to buy food. BJP wants to implement CAA, NRC. They will send you to detention camps. Do you want to go to detention camps? Then, do not vote for the BJP. Every religion and caste in our state is with us. We work for all sections of society.”
She added, “Khela hobe [the game is on] against the goons of the BJP; vote for the TMC. If you defeat the BJP then whatever you will ask of me, I will give you. In this game, the woman will hit the roads with their utensils and pickaxes and you all will go to booths and cast your votes one by one against the BJP.”
Earlier in the day, the TMC chairperson spoke to the families of the Sitalkuchi victims through video conferencing as the Election Commission on Saturday night barred political leaders from visiting Cooch Behar district for 72 hours. The TMC claimed that the order was issued to stop Banerjee from visiting Sitalkuchi.
“I wanted to stand by the people of Sitalkuchi today but I have been stopped for 72 hours. This is very unfortunate. They should not stop me, they insulted me. But they cannot stop me. I talked with them [the families], and after 72 hours I will go there,” Banerjee told reporters in Siliguri.
The TMC chairperson said she would help the families with money from her election fund and continue to take care of them in the future. The TMC chairperson said she would help the families with money from her election fund and continue to take care of them in the future. The families asked Banerjee to ensure a proper and neutral investigation and told her that the four were innocent. The chief minister told them, “Do not worry. We will take care of all the necessities and we will stand with you.”
Meanwhile, the TMC chief accused the BJP of failing to deliver on its promise to reopen tea gardens that had to close because of lack of funds. Banerjee claimed the saffron party always deceives people.
“In sharp contrast, the TMC dispensation has undertaken many development projects in Jalpaiguri to boost its agriculture and tourism sectors. It has built a stadium in the district, and ensured that the social welfare schemes launched by the government benefit everyone in the region,” she added.
In Chalsa, Banerjee promised ration and Rs 500 for every household and Rs 1,000 monthly allowance for families from backward castes.
The TMC chief said if re-elected, her party would launch a state-sponsored credit card scheme for students who wish to pursue higher education. Later in the day, Banerjee led a roadshow in Purba Bardhaman district.
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