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'Vote Loot': TMC Forcibly Occupied 2 Zilla Parishads in 2018 Panchayat Polls, Says Suvendu Adhikari

File photo of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari

File photo of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari

Adhikari, who switched sides to the saffron party in December, also accused the TMC leaders of pocketing funds released for various projects of the state and central governments.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Sunday alleged that his former party, the ruling Trinamool Congress, had forcibly occupied two Zilla Parishads in south Bengal's Jangal Mahal region during panchayat elections in 2018 which, he claimed, witnessed "vote loot". Adhikari, who switched sides to the saffron party in December, also accused the TMC leaders of pocketing funds released for various projects of the state and central governments.

Rejecting the charges, senior TMC leader Tapas Roy claimed that those who joined the BJP raise baseless allegations to strengthen position in their new party. Addressing a BJP meeting at Jhargram, Adhikari said, "You know how the TMC had looted votes in the 2018 panchayat polls here. How they had changed the people's verdict and true results overnight to occupy the two Zilla Parishads. I am giving my word to people that we won't allow that to happen again." He, however, did not mention any Zilla Parishad.

Jangal Mahal comprises four districts - Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram. Adhikari asserted that the TMC will be defeated by a huge margin in all four seats in Jangal Mahal belt of the district in the assembly polls due in April-May this year.

"The TMC will be trounced by at least 50,000 votes in each of Nayagram, Gopiballabhpur, Binpur and Jhargram seats in the upcoming assembly elections," he said at the meeting. Adhikari claimed that he has always worked to establish democracy in the area.

He described the TMC as "Amphan-er tran chor" (Thief of cyclone Amphan relief funds) and alleged that the Mamata Banerjee government has been changing names of central projects such as PM Awas Yojana and projected them as state schemes. "However, the affected people, the poor people, are not the beneficiaries. The money is being pocketed by local leaders who are building palatial houses and buying flats in towns and cities," the former Bengal minister said.

After May, the BJP will make a list of people who illegally received compensation money from the government after cyclone Amphan, he said. He also alleged irregularities in Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), School Service Commission (SSC) and other recruitment tests organised by the state government and said that after coming to power, the BJP will see to it that such tests are held annually in a fair and transparent manner.

At a meeting in Contai after a road show, Adhikari claimed that once the model code of conduct comes into force before the election, "all miscreants of the TMC will hide. The paramilitary forces will conduct votes and vote looters will face the music." Senior TMC leader Tapas Roy denied the accusations. "It seems there is a competition among those who joined the BJP to make wild claims. People of the state will also not accept unfortunate comments against Mamata Banerjee.

This is an insult to women," Roy added.


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