West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that the Narendra Modi government had brought in police forces from Madhya Pradesh and other BJP-ruled states to “terrorise voters” in Nandigram district to “tilt the verdict in favour of the saffron party”, PTI reported.
The Trinamool Congress chief is pitted against her former aide, Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, in the constituency that will go to vote on April 1.
At an election rally in Sonachura area of Nandigram, Banerjee alleged that the BJP had deployed a formidable election machinery of ministers and security forces, backed by deep pockets, to bribe voters. Huge amount of cash was being exported from all over the country and “distributed from hotels by the ministers” to lure people to vote for Adhikari, she claimed.
Banerjee alleged that the saffron party was financing its illicit campaign by using the money it looted from the public. “This is the money of PM Cares Fund, this is unaccounted cash amassed during demonetisation, this is the cash having swelled their coffers after sale of PSUs [Public Sector Undertakings],” she claimed. “This is the public money they had looted and now giving in Rs 500/1000 to each voter.”
The TMC leader added that her party had flagged the matter to the Election Commission but the BJP’s actions still continued unabated. “We have no issue if the outsider police function impartially,” she said. “But, we have credible information they are not.”
At another meeting in the district in Balichak area, Banerjee alleged that “several ministers from BJP-ruled states and central ministers are behind distribution of cash”.
She accused the Election Commission of displaying favouritism towards the BJP. “Why are there more than 100 cars in the convoy of Union Home Minister Amit Shah while not more than five vehicles are allowed in a convoy during elections?” she said. “Someone is being given more privileges than others.”
Banerjee also mocked Adhikari, saying that a “CPI(M) harmad [pirate] from whose house shots were fired at protestors in Nandigram in 2007, had now become the right hand man of the betrayer of people”.
The TMC leader said she was confident of winning from Nandigram by a massive margin. “They [police forces from outside] will be here only for few days,” Banerjee said. “We will be back and give the betrayers a befitting reply.”
Banerjee urged people to stay alert against “any bid to instigate communal riots” in the seat in the run up to the polling and on the day of polling. “They have plans to kill their own people and pass the blame on us to engineer riots,” she claimed, without naming anyone. “We have information.”
Banerjee’s defeat is absolutely necessary: Amit Shah
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was also in Nandigram on Tuesday, said that the defeat of Banerjee was “absolutely necessary to bring about the much-desired change in Bengal”, reported PTI.
Shah, while talking to reporters at a party office in Nandigram, said the saffron camp’s victory margin “should be so big that no politician will dare to fool the masses with false promises ever again”.
He added, “By defeating Mamata didi in Nandigram, you can bring about the much-desired change in West Bengal. You defeat her here, the TMC will automatically get defeated in other parts of the state.”
The BJP leader also hit out at Banerjee for the rising instances of crime against women in Bengal. “She talks big about women’s safety. What is the situation here?” he said. “A woman was raped here, just a few kilometres away from where she [Banerjee] has put up in Nandigram.”
Earlier in the day, Shah and Adhikari held a rally atop a lorry as they waved at enthusiastic crowds that gathered along the four-km stretch between Bethuria and Rayapara in the East Midnapore Assembly segment.