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Battle for Bengal: TMC Knows it is Losing, Says BJP, Denies Charge of Bribing Voters

File photo of Mamata Banerjee at a rally. (PTI)

File photo of Mamata Banerjee at a rally. (PTI)

Mamata Banerjee at a rally on Wednesday accused the BJP of distributing Rs 1,000 coupons to lure voters.

The Trinamool Congress knows it is losing the West Bengal assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party said on Wednesday while rejecting the TMC’s accusation that it was distributing Rs 1,000 coupons to lure voters. The latest round of verbal sniping ratcheted up the rhetoric during the vitriolic campaign for the eight-phase polls, with the BJP looking to unseat two-term chief minister Mamata Banerjee in the politically crucial state.

Terming the allegations fake, state BJP vice-president Pratap Banerjee said no such coupons were given on behalf of the party.

“The TMC is demoralised with the first three phases of the elections. They know that they are going to lose the polls and so they are coming up with such dirty political strategies. No one from the BJP is distributing such coupons,” he said.

The BJP’s reaction came after Mamata Banerjee accused the party of handing out coupons to bribe voters.

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Addressing a public meeting in Cooch Behar on Wednesday, she said, “We came to know that BJP leaders in Raidighi (in South 24 Parganas district) are distributing Rs 1,000 coupons to lure voters. They are telling the voters that they will get Rs 1,000 if they vote for the BJP. Please be careful. It will be a sin to accept their coupon because it is their ill-gotten money.”

She asked the people present at the rally to question Narendra Modi about the Rs 15 lakh which, the TMC chief said, he had promised every Indian after he became the Prime Minister in 2014.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, “This is shocking that the BJP is luring people through such coupons and the Election Commission is silent. They are asking people to attend PM Modi’s rally in exchange for such coupons. This clearly shows that they are losing this election. I would like to thank all the people in Bengal for their support to Mamata Banerjee in the first three phases of the elections and we are hopeful to get their support in the rest of the five phases.”

Bengal has five more voting days on April 10, 17, 22, 26 and 29, before counting on May 2.

Claiming that there is a strong ‘Modi wave’ in Bengal, BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said, “Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a strong leader, not only in India but also globally. Our party’s position is not that bad that we have to depend on Rs 1,000 coupons to win the people’s hearts and confidence. Such allegations clearly show that the TMC’s days are numbered in Bengal. If we actually distributed the coupons, then why is the TMC not approaching the EC? Let there be an investigation into the matter.”

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first published:April 07, 2021, 17:19 IST