‘Not just another election’: Mamata Banerjee attacks BJP in north Bengal rallies | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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‘Not just another election’: Mamata Banerjee attacks BJP in north Bengal rallies

Apr 15, 2024 10:52 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee also attacked the Election Commission, accusing the election watchdog of acting on the instructions of the ruling BJP

KOLKATA: India will lose her independence and witness dictatorship if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the coming Lok Sabha election, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee told voters on Monday at two back-to-back rallies in north Bengal.

TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at a public meeting in support of party candidate Jagadish Chandra Barma ahead of Lok Sabha elections, in Cooch Behar district on April 15 (PTI)
TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at a public meeting in support of party candidate Jagadish Chandra Barma ahead of Lok Sabha elections, in Cooch Behar district on April 15 (PTI)

Banerjee targeted the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at both rallies, describing the 2024 general elections as “a war for independence.”

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“If you want to see the nation remain independent, then say BJP hatao, desh bachao (oust BJP, save the nation). This is the slogan of this election. Their one nation, one election means there will be no more elections, no federal structure, no state governments. If this government stays, they will form a dictatorial state. One leader, one nation is their goal. The nation has to think the way he (the leader) thinks,” Banerjee said at Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency that went to the BJP in the 2019 general elections.

Also Read | Mamata attacks BJP for ‘propaganda’ over arrest of Bengaluru Cafe blast suspects

Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts, each having one seat, are going to the polls in the first phase on April 19. In 2019, BJP set a record by winning 18 of Bengal’s 42 seats and posed a big challenge to TMC in north Bengal where it won seven of the eight seats.

Banerjee repeatedly reminded voters of the projects her government has carried out in the region. “This is not just another election. India has realised that. You have to understand as well. This is a war for independence.”

“The nation is in a dangerous situation. As the election approaches, they (BJP) might create another mock war. They are ready to trigger riots as well. They will go to any extent,” Banerjee said.

“If this party comes to power, they will sell the nation. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or tribal people, all religious and ethnic groups will lose their identity and independence. They (BJP) will decide what you shall eat and when you should sleep. In the morning, they may tell you to have gomutra (cow urine) with some food. In the afternoon, you may be asked to take cow dung with food. At night they may dictate precisely when you are supposed to fall asleep,” the TMC chief said in Cooch Behar.

Also Read | No NRC, no CAA and no UCC, says WB CM Mamata Banerjee

At Alipurduar, Banerjee focused on PM Modi who is scheduled to address two rallies in the region on Tuesday.

“I have seen many prime ministers but never seen one like this. I have worked with Atal Ji (Vajpayee). He was a great man. This Prime Minister is selling the country. He promised 20 million jobs. He said you will receive 15 lakh in bank accounts. This is all jumla. Have you received a penny? The number of educated unemployed youths in the country is the highest at the moment,” said Banerjee.

“You want Modi to sell this nation? Modi hatao desh bachao (Oust Modi, save the nation). This is the only slogan,” she said.

Banerjee sought to counter the BJP’s sharp pitch against TMC over corruption.

“The big thieves join BJP and become clean while opposition leaders are put in jail. You accuse our government of corruption. I dare you to publish a white paper on corruption in Bengal but at the same time publish one on Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat as well. Let us see,” Banerjee said pointing a finger at the two BJP-ruled states.

She also attacked the BJP candidate and union minister of state Nisith Pramanik, alleging that he could create trouble. “Your candidate here is a ruffian. He will create trouble. If they start a riot on April 17, let them. Don’t fall for any provocation. They will badmouth you but don’t fall for it. All campaigning must end at 5 pm on April 17 according to rules,” said Banerjee.

The chief minister also took potshots at the Election Commission of India (EC), accusing the election watchdog of removing the deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Murshidabad range, Mukesh Kumar, on Monday under instructions from the BJP.

Addressing the EC from the Alipurduar rally, Banerjee, who is also in charge of the home department, said: “You are removing police officers selectively. You removed DIG Murshidabad range today under the BJP’s instructions. EC will be responsible if there are riots. You (EC) are not listening to me now. You are running the police administration.”

“If I could fast for the farmers of Singur for 26 days, I can go on a hunger strike for 55 days outside your office as well. I know how to fight. I will remove BJP. This is the TMC’s resolution,” Banerjee said.

Kumar was removed on Monday a day after the Bengal BJP’s social media unit put out a post on Sunday that people from a particular community were attacked in Murshidabad.

BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the Bengal legislative assembly, rebutted Banerjee. “This is an election to protect India, to see India leading other nations. The INDIA alliance has collapsed. Who is their prime ministerial candidate? The aunt? Or, is it the nephew?” Adhikari said, mocking the chief minister and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

He said: “The CM made provocative speeches a while ago. Do you want India to become another Ukraine or Afghanistan? If not, then vote for the (BJP’s) lotus symbol. Modi Ji has said they (TMC) are using CAA to scare people. A month has passed since it was enforced but nobody has lost citizenship. The minority community has turned its back on TMC.”

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