West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said that she would not bow down to anything as she held her first campaign rally while sitting on a wheelchair and with her leg in a cast.
Banerjee said that she will continue to campaign ahead of the Assembly elections despite her injuries, NDTV reported. “I am hurt and unwell, but my goal remains,” she said in Kolkata. “My body is full of bruises. I will continue to roam around Bengal on this wheelchair. If I go on bed rest, who will reach out to the people of Bengal?”
The West Bengal chief minister seemed to issue a warning to her opponents as she said that “a wounded tiger is the most dangerous animal”, ANI reported.
Banerjee said that her party Trinamool Congress will make sure that democracy returns to West Bengal. “May all conspiracies against Bengal be destroyed,” she added. “I assure that I’ll campaign on a wheelchair with a broken leg. Khela Hobe [game on].”
The Trinamool Congress chief said that doctors advised her against campaigning, PTI reported. “But I felt that I should participate in today’s [Sunday’s] rally as we have already lost a few days due to my injury,” she said. “My pain is not greater than the suffering of people as democracy is being trampled through dictatorship.”
Earlier in the day, the Election Commission of India ruled out a conspiracy in the alleged attack on Banerjee in Nandigram. The poll panel concluded that Banerjee’s injuries were because of lapses on the part of her security personnel.
The West Bengal chief minister was injured on March 10 while campaigning in the Nandigram, where she is pitted against her former aide and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari. She sustained severe bone injuries on her left foot and ankle as well as bruises and injuries on her shoulder, forearm and neck, according to the report prepared by the SSKM hospital in Kolkata. She was discharged on March 12.
The chief minister had alleged that the attack on her was a political conspiracy. She said that she was intentionally shoved by four to five people who had entered the crowd, and that no police officer was present at the scene.
A six-member Trinamool Congress delegation had also submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission, repeating allegations that Banerjee was targeted as part of a “deep-rooted conspiracy”. The memorandum cited social media posts and photos related to Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
The BJP, on the other hand, accused Banerjee of feigning the attack to gain public sympathy ahead of state elections. A delegation of the saffron party also met the poll panel sought an investigation into the incident.
Elections to the 294-member assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be announced on May 2.