West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday responded to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s claims that the Bharatiya Janata Party would win 26 seats in the first phase of Assembly elections in the state, The Indian Express reported. Polling for 30 Assembly seats in West Bengal took place on March 27.
Banerjee dismissed Shah’s prediction of the saffron winning the majority of seats. “A leader today said his party will win 26 seats [in the first phase of polling],” she said at a meeting in East Midnapore district. “Why did he leave the remaining four seats? Why didn’t lay claim to winning all 30 seats? Did he leave those for the Congress and the CPI(M)? You [BJP] will get a big rosogolla.”
The Trinamool Congress chief also questioned how the BJP was making such claims within 24 hours of polling in the first phase. She asked if Shah had checked the electronic voting machine, according to ANI.
Banerjee asked people to wait for the results on May 2, adding that “outsiders” cannot rule the state. “They [BJP] have lot of money so they are trying to purchase people,” she alleged. “Modi is taking land. He will snatch away everything as [industrialist] Adani is his friend. Chase away outsiders and BJP like you chased away CPI(M).”
The West Bengal chief minister urged central forces to ensure “neutrality” in the remaining seven phases of voting, The Indian Express reported. “Don’t harass our mothers and daughters, don’t ask them to vote [for] BJP,” she added. “Please do your job and let people vote. This isn’t an Uttar Pradesh election that [Chief Minister] Adityanath is contesting. This is Bengal. Our people can vote for themselves and save Bengal.”
At a press conference in Delhi on March 28, Shah expressed confidence that the BJP will win elections in West Bengal and at least 37 of 47 seats in Assam where polling took place, The Times of India reported.
Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien called Shah a “bluffmaster” for making such claims. “Try your seat prediction stunts at the Gujarat Gymkhana,” he added. “This is Bengal.”