West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday promised government jobs and rewards to those who help her get “outsider goons” arrested for distributing money for votes in the assembly elections beginning this week. While addressing a rally in Bankura district, the Trinamool Congress chief said, “BJP-hired goons are roaming around in Bengal to create disturbance during the polls. Keep a close watch in your area and inform the police immediately if you come across any outsiders. BJP is trying to buy people with ‘bundles of notes’ ahead of the assembly polls in 2021. Take the money and then lodge a police complaint. Not the least, if you help us in getting hold of such people, I will give you a government job and a reward.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to break Bengal with its money power, warned Mamata, asking people not to fall into the trap.
“The BJP doesn’t have any political courtesy or ideology. I respect the chair of the Prime Minister but I haven’t seen a liar like Narendra Modi. He is spreading misinformation. They are bringing goons from other states to disturb the harmony of Bengal, to disturb the culture of Bengal,” she said.
The BJP, which made stunning gains in Bengal during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is making an all-out bid to unseat Mamata Banerjee whose party, the Trinamool Congress, has been in power in the state since 2011. The saffron party has hit the ruling TMC with a barrage of allegations about institutionalised corruption, Muslim appeasement, and heavy-handed governance, among other things.
“BJP is garbage… of lies, and believes in dangerous divisive politics. They are blackmailing us in the name of agencies. I would like to tell them today, we will not bow our heads before them. My real warriors are my booth workers. They are the real assets of TMC. Today, I would like to appeal to the people of Bankura to stand against evil forces like BJP,” Mamata said at the rally.
The assembly polls to the 294-member state assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27. The final round of voting will take place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
On the issue of the National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), Mamata said, “Narendra Modi excluded the names of 14 lakh Bengalis in Assam (during NRC). Now they are planning to implement it here in Bengal. They will exclude your name from Bengal and make you homeless. But I have decided that I will not allow him to do this if I remain in power. I will never let NPR, NRC to be implemented in Bengal.”
The TMC chief blamed the BJP again for a leg injury she suffered in Nandigram during campaigning on March 10. “They injured my leg to prevent me from reaching out to the people,” she told the crowd. ‘But my pain is nothing compared to your pain. I am a fearless person and will continue to fight with them till my last breath.”