BJP president Amit Shah on Friday kicked off his Lok Sabha poll campaign in West Bengal, saying the party would win 23 seats in the state. Addressing a rally in Alipurduar district, which will go to polls on April 11, Shah accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of destroying democracy in the state and creating a reign of terror. He said the TMC allowed “infiltrators” to stay in West Bengal, and asserted that the BJP would bring the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state to drive them out.
“Mamata didi thinks infiltrators will help her win election this time. But we will bring NRC in West Bengal and drive out infiltrators one by one. They (TMC) are now scaring refugees. They are saying that if NRC is implemented, refugees will be driven out. But I want to assure all refugees that bringing Citizenship Amendment Bill is our commitment. Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu refugees will not have to leave the country. We will give them their right to live here with dignity. Mamata didi can use all the powers she has, but infiltrators will be out of this country,” he said.
“From today our election campaign starts in West Bengal. This election will decide whether democracy will remain here or not because the TMC government has destroyed the culture and heritage of the state and throttled democracy. On one hand, there is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and on the other, there is Rahul baba, Mamata didi, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s thugbandhan (an alliance of thugs). We have to uproot TMC from here. We have full faith in the people of Bengal that they will take a big decision this time. This time BJP will win 23 seats in West Bengal,” Shah said.
He reiterated that people in West Bengal have to take permission to hold Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja. “Now, no one will stop the people from holding Durga Puja once the BJP forms a government here,” he said.
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“We respect all religions. But Mamata didi provides Imam bhata (stipend). We have no problem with that. But why will Pujaris not get the same benefit? Mamata government is appointing Urdu teachers in schools where not a single student wants to learn that language. In Islampur, there was a protest after Mamata didi’s government put an Urdu teacher in a school. Two of our workers were killed after they staged a protest saying they wanted to learn Bengali. I want to ask Mamata didi, why are you doing this? Only one person can save the people from Mamata didi and that person is Narendra Modi,” Shah added. The BJP leader added that the TMC government has sanctioned a smaller budget for higher education and more for madrasa education.
Shah also targeted Banerjee for asking for details of the Balakot airstrike, saying that she wanted to protect her minority vote bank. “Now Mamata didi gets very angry with us. People tell me she is angry because the Modi government did an airstrike in Pakistan. Shouldn’t the people responsible for the Pulwama attack be taught a lesson? Our government will not spare the terrorists. For her, the vote bank of infiltrators is more important than destruction of terrorists,” he added.