Updated: March 26, 2021 5:53:30 am
Not backing away from her claim of a nexus between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Election Commission ahead of the West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the saffron party of interfering with the functioning of the poll panel which she termed as the “BJP Commission”. However, she claimed that even if the Commission were to transfer all top police officers in her state, it won’t stop her from returning to power.
Her fresh salvo at the BJP and the poll watchdog came after the EC transferred five more Bengal officers who were vested with poll-related assignments. ADG West Zone Sanjay Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Kolkata Police (South Kolkata) Sudhir Neelkantha, SP of Coochbehar district K Kannan, SP of Diamond Harbour Police district Avijit Banerjee and district election officer of Jhargram Ayesha Rani were shunted to non-poll duties.
According to sources, former Bengal DGP Surajit Karpurakayastha, who is known to be close to the Mamata, was also removed from poll-related duty on Wednesday, following an order from the Election Commission.
Reacting to this, Mamata said, “Given how the BJP is meddling with the day-to-day functioning of the Election Commission, we should call it a BJP Commission.”
At a rally in Dantan, she said, “I have great respect for the Election Commission. I am urging them to transfer all my officers as even that won’t stop us from winning the election. We have faith in our people and know they are with us.”
The CM, who has been making regular campaign stops across the state despite being confined to a wheelchair, further accused the poll body of meting out “step-motherly treatment towards the state”. “You (EC) can send me ten (transfer) letters. I will not flinch,” she said.
She alleged that the EC was bowing to the dictates of the BJP which isn’t how it should be. “We are a regional party. They (BJP and EC) want to finish all regional parties. If they think they can stop us by resorting to such ploys, they are mistaken. You (BJP) lost the match and are now playing a new game of shuffling my officers around. You should bear in mind that it isn’t your officers who will vote. It is the people who will vote and they are all with us,” Mamata said.
She claimed the BJP was bringing outsiders from neighbouring Odisha to influence the polls and further accused the saffron party of offering money to voters. Addressing party workers, she said, “Let all mothers and sisters be aware. If you see outsiders, chase them, force them to flee your area. We have specific information that a particular political party is bringing people from outside to influence voting.”
Accusing the Congress and the CPI(M) of being in cahoots with the BJP, she said that the Indian Secular Front, a minority outfit floated by Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui, is being propped by the BJP to grab the Muslim vote.
Addressing locals at Patharptatima in the South 24-Parganas, where a sizeable contingent of minority voters recently erupted over the alleged embezzlement of funds allocated for Cyclone Amphan relief, the CM claimed that the ISF leader had taken money from the BJP. “When disasters such as (cyclones) Bulbul and Amphan stuck, nobody was there. We were the only ones distributing relief and standing with the affected people. Now some parties are making a big deal of some isolated incidents,” the CM said.
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