Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee criticised the BJP for choosing John Barla, whom she described as a “cause of trouble”, as the North Bengal’s Alipurduar Lok Sabha candidate. She was addressing an election rally at Barobisha in Alipurduar district on Saturday. She also accused the BJP of distributing money to win votes in West Bengal.
“At the time of election, the BJP comes here with sacks full of money to distribute and seek votes. Do not listen to them. Who is John Barla? He is the person who was the cause of trouble — from triggering riots to clashes between communities. The BJP could not find a better candidate. But we will not allow him to win. We will not vote for him. We will not vote for a party that causes riots and creates trouble,” Mamata said. Barla is contesting from Alipurduar seat on a BJP ticket.
“Do not sell your votes to these people. Do not be misled. Vote for Trinamool and live like proper human beings; get more opportunities and facilities. We are committed to the improvement of standards of living,” she said.
Mamata asserted that the removal of senior police officers will have no effect on her party in the Lok Sabha polls.
“I welcome the central forces, but they must work hand in hand with the state forces. If you want to replace people, go ahead. If you can, replace me first. They have replaced good police officials, but that will not affect us. We are not afraid of the threats that the BJP is making. The more they try to stop us, the more we will move ahead,” the chief minister said.
Mamata also mocked Modi’s 56-inch chest rhetoric and said even Ravan (demon king) had a big chest, does that mean we would support “Ravan raj” in the country.
Sharpening attack at PM, who early this week had made a scathing attack at the TMC chief describing her a “speedbreaker” in the path of development of the state and also who wants poverty to stay so her “politics of poverty” can flourish, Mamata launched no-holds-barred attack on Modi.
Mamata wondered how a person who didn’t look after his wife would look after the citizens of the country, taking an apparent dig at Modi.
She further accused the BJP of trying to turn legal citizens of the country into foreigners in the name of NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Mamata, who has emerged as an important leader of the anti-BJP bloc, said: “Let me warn you, if the BJP wins, the independence of the country and its people will be at stake. Freedom of religion, what to eat, what to wear will all be dictated to you”, she said and gave a clarion call to oust the “anti-Bengali, anti-minority” BJP.
“The BJP has to be defeated in order to save the people of this country. The TMC will lead the formation of the new government at the Centre. Bengal will show the way,” she said.