Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday claimed that the people of West Bengal had decided to vote out the ruling Trinamool Congress, with four phases of polling still remaining in the state.
“Didi [West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee] is getting angrier and anxious by the day,” Modi said at a rally in Bardhaman district. “Do you know why? Because the TMC has been wiped out in just half the elections.”
Drawing a reference from cricket, the prime minister said that the voters in Nandigram had “clean bowled” Banerjee, who had contested the seat against aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari. He reiterated the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism of Banerjee for promoting her nephew, Abhishek Banerjee.
“Didi was ready to hand over the captaincy of her team to her nephew,” Modi said. “But the people got an air of her intentions and skittled them.”
He also accused the West Bengal chief minister of instigating people against the central security forces. “If you [Banerjee] want to get angry, direct your anger at me...If you want to abuse, abuse me but do not insult the identity of Bengal,” the prime minister said. “Your policies have snuffed out the lives of children of countless mothers.”
Violence marred the fourth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections on April 10 when four people were killed as the central security force personnel opened fire at a polling booth in Sitalkuchi after some locals allegedly clashed with them. Another person was also shot dead that day outside a polling booth in the same district by unidentified men.
Banerjee and her party, the ruling Trinamool Congress, have blamed the BJP for orchestrating the attack. On Sunday, Banerjee had demanded Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation for the incident. The Trinamool chief had said the central forces opening fire on voters amounted to genocide and accused the Election Commission of suppressing facts.
He claimed that the Trinamool Congress laid faith on the principle of “divide and rule”, while the BJP believed in “unite and serve”.
“TMC has followed the path of harass Ma [mother], loot Maati [land] and hurt Maanush [people],” Modi said, taking a dig at Trinamool Congress’ slogan of “Maa, Maati, Maanush”.
The prime minister made a case for the BJP, repeating the party’s slogan of a “double engine government” if they ruled at the state and the Centre.
“The double engine government will function at double the speed and result in double the development,” Modi said.
‘Didi and her party are crossing all lines’
Later in day, Modi alleged that the Trinamool Congress was employing goons and trying to rig the elections.
“Perturbed with fear of losing, Didi and her party are crossing all lines,” he said at a rally in Kalyani, according to ANI. “Her people are abusing SCs, STs, OBCs only because they support the BJP. Seeing her defeat, Didi has strategised to stop them from voting and facilitated her goons to rig votes.”
The prime minister mocked the TMC’s “Khela Hobe” slogan. “In democracy, it’s people who begin the game and end it, people of Bengal have decreed your “khela” [game] is up,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Modi also addressed a massive rally in Barasat, even as India is witnessing a huge increase in coronavirus cases. “For today’s situation of Didi and her party, it has been said ‘vinash kale vipareet buddhi’ [when the time of one’s destruction comes, his or her mind thinks the opposite of what it should],” he said, according to ANI. “This is why Didi has picked up a kind of open fight against Modi along with Bengal’s SC, ST, OBC communities.”