Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday claimed that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s appeal to Muslims to not divide their votes shows that she has lost their support, reported NDTV.
“Dear Didi, recently you said all Muslims should unite, and not allow their votes to be divided,” Modi said at an election rally in Cooch Behar. “You are saying this means that you are convinced that the Muslim vote bank has also gone out of your hands, the Muslims have also turned away from you... That you had to say so publicly – this shows that you have lost the election.”
Bengal’s population comprises 27% Muslims. The votes from the community are important for Banerjee’ party, the Trinamool Congress, for the state elections, according to the news channel. In this election, two Muslim leader-led parties – All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the Indian Secular Front – are contesting and this can split the vote bank.
The TMC chief had asked Muslims on April 3 not to “fall in the trap of a BJP-aided party from Hyderabad and its Bengal ally that are out to polarise votes.” She was apparently referring to these two parties. Both parties have earlier denied Banerjee’s allegations of polarisation.
Elections in West Bengal are being held in eight phases. The first phase was held on March 27 and the second on April 1. The third phase is underway. Counting of votes will be held on May 2.
On Tuesday, Modi also said that a similar appeal from the Bharatiya Janata Party to Hindus would have stirred up the Election Commission and the media. “Didi, you are abusive towards the Election Commission,” the prime minister said. “But had we asked the Hindus to unite and vote for BJP, we would have got eight or ten notices from the Election Commission. Editorials would have been written about us in the entire country.”
Modi claimed Banerjee had hurt the self-esteem of the Bengalis by alleging that people come to his rallies for money.
The prime minister also asserted that the BJP would win the Bengal elections because its leaders were engaged in public service, reported India Today. “Didi has been asking: Is BJP god that it already knows it is winning polls?” Modi said. “I want to tell her that we are normal people engaged in the service of public. I want to tell the people that I will return your love with interest in the form of development.”
The BJP leaders have claimed that a huge turnout in the polls was proof that the saffron party will win the elections. The TMC has dismissed the claims.
At the Cooch Behar rally, Modi reiterated this claim, saying that people have come out and stood in lines to vote for the BJP. “There is very good voting turnout today as well,” he said. “Bengal is witnessing a BJP wave, which will sideline the fear of didi and her goons.”