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'BJP Leaders Arrive in Big Cars, Hold Rallies in Hills And Run Away': Mamata Banerjee

The West Bengal chief minister appealed to citizens to ensure that her Trinamool Congress wins all 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:April 11, 2019, 5:41 PM IST
'BJP Leaders Arrive in Big Cars, Hold Rallies in Hills And Run Away': Mamata Banerjee
File photo of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

Darjeeling: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday addressed a rally in Darjeeling as the state kick-started the first phase of elections, with Coochbehar and Alipurduar going to polls. Darjeeling goes to polls in the second phase of elections on April 18.

Banerjee lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, who addressed a meeting about 50 km away in Kalimpong.

“I heard they come in big cars, hold rallies ad go away. Do they know the smaller details of the hills? He came to Bagdogra, took a helicopter to come here, and then ran away,” she said.

Earlier in her speech, Banerjee hit out at the BJP’s Darjeeling MP SS Alhuwalia, accusing his party of running away and doing nothing for the people. “Dilli se aaya, halwa khake chala gaya (he came from Delhi, ate sweets and went away),” she said.

Residents of the hill region are upset with Alhuwalia for having bandoning them during the 104-day strike in 2017 and for not taking ahead their demands for a separate statehood. Banerjee told the crowd that unlike her opponents, she comes to Darjeeling every three months without selfish motives.

The Bimal Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has joined hands with its former rival Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) to support the BJP candidate Raju Bista. The Binay Tamang faction of GJM, on the other hand, is supporting Trinamool candidate Amar Singh Rai, who is the Darjeeling MLA.

Referring to him as the son of the soil, Banerjee appealed to people to vote for him.

“You help me win and we will capture Delhi. The TMC will form the next government in Delhi. We will win all of 42 seats,” she said, claiming that the BJP in Delhi benefits from disturbance in the hills.

Banerjee criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having set up a Modi ‘sena’ (army), a cinema, a television channel, and a shop. “Time aane par chappal bhi milega (when the time comes, he will get slippers as well),” she said.

Banerjee was trying to drive a wedge in the BJP’s vote bank, with GJM supporters divided over their political loyalties. The BJP is hoping to gain a bigger stronghold in the north Bengal constituencies while hoping to retain the Darjeeling seat for the third time. The Trinamool, on the other hand, is hoping to make its maiden Lok Sabha foray in the hills. The BJP won the last two Lok Sabha elections with Jaswant Singh and Alhuwalia as candidates.

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