HASNABAD/DUM DUM(WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that the BJP is using money to buy votes and demanded that all vehicles, including helicopters used by the prime minister and union ministers, be checked by the Election Commission.
Banerjee asked the EC to check even cars and the helicopter used by her, if need be. She cautioned voters about outsiders and alleged that Union ministers travelling with 'Z' and 'Y' category security carry funds in their vehicles.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's frequent visits to the state ahead of the various phases of the Lok Sabha polls, the Trinamool Congress chairperson, who is among his severest critics, said, "Why is he coming so often to Bengal? He wants to create division among the people. He is coming with loads of money to distribute to the people. I request the Election Commission to also check my car and helicopter. But, check all the Union ministers' cars and helicopters, too. They cannot be exempted. They are bringing in money through various ways," the CM claimed.
She urged the poll body to ensure that "not a single rupee comes in, not a single outsider comes in and proper democracy is maintained".
Banerjee said that a BJP candidate was even caught carrying crores -- a reference to the police seizing Rs 1.13 lakh from the vehicle of the saffron party's candidate and former IPS offficer Bharati Ghosh late Thursday night at Pingla area in West Midnapore district.
"People of Hasnabad and adjoining areas, please be careful about outsiders and keep a watch on them. There are RSS people out to offer you money for your votes. The BJP will try all sorts of things to get votes, including offering money," she said, addressing a rally at Hasnabad in North 24 Parganas on the Indo-Bangla border.
She criticised Modi for doing "nothing" in the last five years and challenged him to a live debate with her on television.
Accusing both Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of verbal attacks, Banerjee said the fear of losing the polls is looming large over the BJP. "I have never seen a prime minister who could stoop so low as to call me a 'tolabaj' (extortionist). Modi comes here and says that I have done nothing. Actually he is jealous of me for the way we have transformed Bengal in eight years," she said. "In UP, the BJP has created a gau raksha committee and killed people in staged encounters. For all these, you will lose badly across the country," she asserted.
Lashing out at the saffron party for calling her "anti-Hindu", the CM said Modi behaves as if Lord Ram is his "election agent", through repeated mentions of him in his speeches. "Modi comes here and says that I don't allow Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja - these are big lies. I am a Hindu but I look upon people of all religions with equal respect - I believe in unity in diversity," she said.
Urging voters to caste their ballots cautiously, Banerjee said the 2019 parliamentary polls will determine the future of the country, as it will make clear whether elections would "ever be held again and the Constitution would remain sacred".