April 10, 2021 4:59:34 am
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday lashed out at Chief Minister Mamata for her remarks against the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and wondered if she was pushing people in Bengal towards anarchy. Banerjee on Wednesday urged the Election Commission (EC) to monitor the paramilitary force and alleged that CRPF personnel were intimidating and harassing voters at Shah’s behest.
At a press conference here, the home minister said, “I have never come across a chief minister or the president of a political party who uses the kind of words Mamata Banerjee is using against the central forces. Is she trying to create anarchy? She must have some common sense and should know that during elections central forces do not function under the home ministry. They are under the control of the Election Commission now.”
Shah added, “When CAPF [Central Armed Police Force] is deployed for election duty, it does not come under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry. It comes under the Election Commission. TMC’s frustration is very much evident from their action and speeches.”
The minister said he was “astonished to see how political interests” caused Banerjee to change her priority. “Earlier, she used to say she wants more central forces to be deployed. Now she is against the presence of central forces as her party cannot rig elections due to tight security. She is asking people to gherao central forces,” he added.
Shah praised the EC for conducting elections more peaceful than the last three major polls held in the state. “Violence in the first three phases has been comparatively less in Bengal than the last three elections for the Assembly, panchayats and the Lok Sabha. I want to congratulate EC on it. But there have been incidents. So, it has to be ensured that there is no violence,” he added.
The home minister criticised Banerjee for appealing to voters from a minority community not to divide their votes. “The way the TMC appealed to minority voters to come together and vote for them indicates that their minority vote bank is also slipping away,” he added.
Shah claimed that the people of Bengal were angry with the TMC and Banerjee for failing to check infiltration, and were unhappy with the chief minister’s protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and appeasement politics. “The TMC government has opposed the CAA and passed a resolution. The BJP, after coming to power, will undo it. I want to assure all refugees they will get citizenship under CAA,” the home minister added.
Unveiling a development roadmap for Bengal and Kolkata, Shah said Rs 22,000 crore would be spent through the Kolkata Development Fund to improve the city’s infrastructure. He added, “Our Sonar Bangla campaign will begin from Kolkata. Kolkata will remain the ‘City of Joy’, and we will also work to transform it into the ‘City of Future’.”
The minister said he was confident of the BJP’s victory in 63 to 68 of the 91 seats that went to the polls in the first three phases.
Asked about the surge in Covid-19 cases and an apprehension that the election campaign could aggravate the situation, Shah urged everyone to maintain safety protocols. “ I think every political party is maintaining Covid protocols and those who are coming to these campaign rallies are doing it too,” he told reporters.
Later in the day, Shah conducted a door-to-door campaign for BJP candidate Rudranil Ghosh in Bhabanipur here and sought the support of Gujaratis who live there. Besides Rudranil, Shah was accompanied by the BJP’s Tarakeswar candidate Swapan Dasgupta.