West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that she will aim to form the government at the Centre after winning the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal, ANI reported. She took on the Bharatiya Janata Party for raising the slogan of “aashol poriborton [real change]”, aimed at countering Banerjee’s slogan of “poriborton”, which brought her to power in 2011.
“Why are you saying ‘poriborton’? It is Mamata Banerjee’s slogan,” the chief minister said at an election rally in Kharagpur in West Midnapore district. “We will bring the next ‘poriborton’ in Delhi, once we win in Bengal. They [BJP] are scared that if Mamata wins in Bengal, she will form an alternative force in Delhi bringing all parties together.”
She also made an appeal to voters of the Left Front and Congress to vote for her party, in order to defeat the BJP, PTI reported. She claimed that the Left parties-led alliance will not be able to come to power and so its supporters should not “waste their votes”.
“Don’t vote for Communist Party of India (Marxist)-they are BJP’s Gadai, do not vote for Congress - they are BJP’s Jagai,” she said, according to ANI, making a reference to common Bengali nicknames. “And BJP is rioter Madhai.”
At a separate rally in Garbeta in the same district, the Trinamool Congress chief claimed that BJP leaders was trying to lure voters by giving them money, PTI reported. “BJP leaders arrive here in choppers and planes from outside with bagful of cash to lure voters and loot votes,” she said.
The West Bengal chief minister, however, admitted that her government might have missed “one or two beneficiaries” of the relief fund for Amphan cyclone, that hit the state last year. Opposition parties have constantly raised the matter of corruption in relief funds, in their election campaigns.
“Thousands of crores of rupees were doled out by the Trinamool Congress government for the cyclone-affected,” Banerjee said. “There could have been one or two exceptions... But we rushed to be on the side of people. Where were BJP leaders then?”
Banerjee also asserted that that the exercise to update the National Population Register will not be allowed in West Bengal, PTI reported. “The BJP will omit names of voters if they are not found at home during the visit of enumerators,” she said. “They will just evict you. But we will not allow them to update the register here.”
The National Population Register is a database of residents of the country that will contain demographic and biometric details. The exercise is conducted at the local, sub-district, district, state and national levels.
In December 2019, Banerjee had stayed all the work related to the preparation and update of the National Population Register, amid violent protests across the state against the amended Citizenship Act.
As reported by Scroll.in, the population register is the first step to the National Register of Citizens, which the government wants to conduct across India to identify undocumented immigrants. The government’s critics fear that the government might misuse the NRC and the new citizenship law to harass Muslims and disenfranchise them since the Citizenship Amendment Act now has religion as a criterion.