West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that the BJP has contributed to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the state by bringing “outsiders in large numbers” for campaigning during the ongoing assembly elections. She also accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of not responding to the state’s plea to vaccinate a majority of people, which could have helped contain the spread of the disease
She further said the BJP will not be able to win even 70 seats in the ongoing elections which many expect to be a cliff-hanger. Speaking at a rally at Dabgram-Fulbari in Jalpaiguri district, the Trinamool Congress supremo ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent claim that the BJP had already won a 100 seats in the four phases of the election to the 294-seat assembly.
Banerjee said “They (BJP leaders) have brought outsiders for campaigning and contributed to the rise in COVID cases. We had managed to get hold of the COVID situation, they complicated it,” she said. Speaking on the Election Commission’s decision to prohibit her from campaigning for 24 hours, she said, “Is it a fault to ask Hindus, Muslims and others to vote together? What about the PM who is mocking me at every election meeting? Why is he not banned from campaigning?” she said.
The Election Commission had barred Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours from Monday 8pm for her remarks against the central forces and a statement that had alleged religious overtones. Accusing the prime minister and Home Minister Amit Shah of peddling lies at poll rallies, the TMC supremo said, “The Centre has kept the NRC and the NPR bills alive, but the home minister had claimed at a meeting at Lebong in the hills that he had no plans to enforce the National Register of Citizens.” “Don’t trust them. If they come to power, you may face the same experience like the 14 lakh Bengalis in Assam (referring to the final NRC in the northeastern state). BJP is a dangerous party which is trying to divide Bengal,” she said.
Banerjee said if the TMC is voted to power once again, it would not allow the controversial NRC to be implemented in West Bengal. All of you are citizens. “My only request to people is that they cast their votes,” she said.
Regarding BJP’s performance in the ongoing elections, Banerjee said, “Modi has said the saffron party has already won 100 seats out of 135 seats where elections have been held. I can say that after the elections are over, the BJP will not even get a total of 70 seats”, she said. The Trinamool Congress leader charged that the BJP was spreading falsehood by telling different things at different places on the same issue.
Banerjee also criticised the saffron party for its ‘anti-people and anti-poor stance allowing prices of fuel, including cooking gas to skyrocket.