With West Bengal assembly elections 2021 around the corner, Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked party youth workers to remain alert at polling booths on voting days, claiming the BJP is likely to rig the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to manipulate votes.
“They (BJP) may create snag in the EVM machine. I would like to request my voters not to leave the place. Wait at the polling booth and when the new machine will come ask the officials to switch on and off the EVM twice,” said Banerjee while addressing a public meeting at Kharagpur.
“My youth cadres need to work harder. They need to work 18 hours in a day from now onwards and need to stay alert because BJP goons will try to rig EVMs. After polling, make teams with separate coloured jerseys to guard the EVMs. While guarding EVMs don’t accept anything like tea and snacks from anyone. It could be laced with sedatives. If we need to fight against the evil forces, then we have to stay careful,” she alerted.
Calling BJP a “garbage of lies”, she said, “BJP is a garbage of lies and believes in dangerous divisive politics. The outsiders ‘goondas’ (goons) came to Bengal and they are trying to create rift between us. They are blackmailing us in the name of agencies. I would like to tell them today, we will not bow our head before them.”
In a veiled attack on Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah, she said, “One outsider is coming to Bengal. He is staying at a five-star hotel and eating five-star food and talking about reforms of the poor. He is not only fooling people but also misleading in the name of development. They don’t even know the culture of Bengal. They only know hatred and divisive politics.”
The Chief Minister also asked her supporters to keep a close watch in their respective areas and inform the police immediately if they find any suspicious person or activity.
“My real warriors are my booth workers. They are the real assets of TMC. The BJP is trying to coerce TMC leaders to join using moneybags to break opposition parties. Today, I would like to appeal to the people of Kharagpur to stand against evil forces like BJP,” the TMC chief said.
“BJP is trying to create a dangerous Hinduism trend in India. This is not only dangerous for our democracy but also devastated for our country. Now they are dreaming of capturing our Bengal. Everyday leaders from other States are coming to Bengal to spread misinformation. They are the biggest ‘lootera’ (dacoit). They sold everything and now plan to sell rail. I would like to urge all railway workers to reject them in this poll and vote for the TMC,” she said.
Terming 2021 assembly polls in West Bengal as a “semi-final before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls”, she said, “I believe that in this election there will be a loud and clear message from Bengal against BJP. Not the least, this election in Bengal will decide the future of our country and will bring ‘parivartan’ (change) in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. This Bengal election will decide the fate of BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Let’s unite and fight against BJP.”
She further said every family in West Bengal will be assisted with a ‘Minimum Basic Income’ support. “Under this scheme, 1.6 crore eligible general category families will be given a monthly cash transfer of Rs 500 (yearly Rs 6,000) and SC/ST category families will be given a monthly cash transfer of Rs 1,000 (Rs 12,000 per year).”
To ensure higher education for all eligible students, Banerjee also promised to launch a new ‘Student Credit Card’ soon. This credit card will have a credit limit of Rs 10 lakh with an interest rate of only 4 per cent, with a provision of easy repayment so that students do not have to depend upon their parents to continue their studies.
“I will also appoint a special task force to examine and propose OBC status to all the communities who are not currently recognised as OBCs like Mahisyas, Tili, Tamul, Shahas, but were part of the recommended list of OBC communities in the Mandal Commission. I will also follow up with the government of India for granting ST status to the Mahato community,” she said.