North India

One can trust snake but not BJP, says Mamata at poll rally

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the BJP of not following the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for the Lok Sabha polls and asserted that a poisonous snake can be trusted but not the saffron camp.

Cooch Behar/Malbazar: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the BJP of not following the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for the Lok Sabha polls and asserted that a poisonous snake can be trusted but not the saffron camp.

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Addressing a rally in Cooch Behar, Banerjee alleged that the central investigating agencies, Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) are working at the behest of the BJP and urged the Election Commission to look into it and ensure a level playing field for all political parties.

“The BJP is asking you to enrol names for Awas Yojna again. Why will the names be enrolled again? They want further enrolment so that they can chuck them off. You can trust a poisonous snake; you can even pet it, but you can never trust the BJP… The BJP is destroying the country,” she said.

Asserting that her party TMC will not bow before the “threat of central agencies”, Banerjee urged women in Cooch Behar to file police complaints if “there are instances of BSF torturing locals” ahead of the polls, scheduled for April 19.

At another poll meeting in Malbazar, she said, “The central investigating agencies, the NIA, Income Tax, central forces like BSF and CISF are working for the BJP. We will humbly plead to the Election Commission to ensure a level playing field for all parties as central agencies are working for the saffron camp. I will ask the people to guard the EVMs after the voting till results are out as BJP will try to tamper with people’s verdict,” she said.

Recalling the death of four civilians at Sitalkuchi in Coochbehar district during assembly elections in 2021 in firing by central forces, Banerjee accused them of being trigger-happy.

Banerjee also charged the BJP with trying to use Indian Army hospitals for its self-interest accusing the saffron party of eroding the independence of forces which had been the pride of the nation for ages.

The BJP only “follows the principle of one nation, one party”, the TMC supremo claimed.

“It is a matter of national shame that a person against whom several cases are pending has been appointed as the minister of state for home affairs,” she said in an apparent reference to Nisith Pramanik who is seeking re-election from Cooch Behar.

He was sacked from our party. Now, he is the asset of the BJP,” she said in an apparent reference to Nisith Pramanik.

Pramanik, a former TMC youth leader, who was expelled from the party in 2018 “is an asset of BJP”, Banerjee said.

Referring to former Cooch Behar SP Debashis Dhar, she said the person responsible for the killing of four people at Sitalkuchi during the 2021 assembly polls has been nominated as its candidate in Birbhum.

Dhar who was Cooch Behar SP during the last assembly polls was later suspended and sent to compulsory waiting.

While reiterating her refusal to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state, Banerjee said that applying for CAA would designate an applicant as a foreigner and advised against it.

The TMC supremo accused the saffron party of “peddling lies” regarding the CAA.

“The CAA is a trap to turn legal citizens into foreigners. Once you (BJP) implement CAA, NRC will follow. We would allow neither CAA nor NRC in West Bengal. If you apply, you will be designated as foreigners,” Banerjee said.

She questioned why a member of the census department was included in the CAA committee “if they have no plan for the NRC in future.”

“The CAA is the head, and the NRC is the tail,” she said.

Banerjee criticised the opposition bloc INDIA partners — CPI (M) and Congress — for “joining hands with the BJP” in West Bengal and asserted that the opposition front ceases to exist in the state.

Banerjee said, “Don’t cast your vote in favour of the Congress and the CPI (M) if you want to defeat the BJP. Not a single vote to CPI (M) and Congress and their ally, a minority party (ISF).”

She said voting for ISF would help the saffron camp since anti-BJP votes would get divided.

Banerjee said that the state administration and the hospital authorities did a commendable job in providing relief to those affected by the storm in Jalpaiguri on Sunday, which claimed five lives.

She accused the Modi government of hindering the construction of pucca houses under Awas Yojana in the storm-ravaged area.

Most of the flattened houses were made of mud walls and tinned roofs.

“We cannot announce that with the model code in force, but the district administration on its own has taken upon the responsibility to re-build the houses. I am urging the Election Commission not to delay the process as hundreds of people are living in the open,” she said.

Accusing the BJP and PM Modi of only indulging in self-publicity, she said, “Why should the Awas Yojana project be named after you? The state is funding a major part of the project. Give us the entire amount, we will carry your name,” she said.

The TMC chief said that Modi’s claim that the EC will keep watch on Bengal proves that the BJP is controlling the poll panel.

She said in the absence of central funds for Awas Yojana, the state from its corpus arranged money for 11 lakh households.

The chief minister said the allegations of corruption in the state housing project were part of BJP’s false narrative to deprive the poor.

“This is not violative of MCC as it had already been declared in state budget,” she added.

Banerjee alleged journalists were facing threats from BJP in states ruled by it or its allies.

“While 12 reporters faced atrocities in UP, another was killed in Maharashtra. And don’t forget the Bilkis gangrape case, Gujarat riots, the molestation of women wrestlers and most chillingly the parading naked of the women in Manipur,” she added.  

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