LALGARH: ‘Lalgarh’ in Bengali means “red fort”. But no longer is the place a Maoist fortress. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday claimed credit for this change.
Addressing a public meeting as part of the poll campaign, she said, “Earlier there used to be Holi of blood here every month but since the last four years none has died. This is no more a womb of terrorism. I have brought the Maoists back to the mainstream.
Without naming any political party, she said people were being instigated by some forces. Mamata alleged, “Some are trying to bring back illogical terrorism and I have reports of them visiting this area.” The area shares borders with BJP-ruled Jharkhand where Maoists are still active and are slipping over to West Bengal to attempt to regain their foothold.
The Trinamool Congress supremo took potshots at the Election Commission as well for sending a large number of central para-military forces.
“Now the Election Commission looks after law and order. Eight TMC workers were killed in last seven days by CPI(M),” she claimed.
“Who gave them the right to kill? We will not tolerate killing. There is no place for political vendetta in Bengal,” she said.
Mamata told tribal voters, “I am cautioning all TMC workers. Let them threaten you, but mobilise masses in your favour. They will be here only for three days and then leave. After that we will be here to fight and protect you. I am not yet dead.
“We will never resort to political violence and murders because we will win with people’s support,” she told the cheering crowd.
The first phase of polling in the state will take place on April 4, and the second on April 11.
Mocking the “CPI(M)-Congress-BJP nexus”, she thundered, “On a soft land even rats scratch. But this is not soft but a tough land. If they try to scratch here even a tiger’s claws will break.
“I want tribals to stand with their heads high and people now want to come to Jangalmahal on a holiday instead of visiting the USA or famous places in Europe. Jangalmahal’s famous Chhou dance came first during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi,” she claimed.
Mamata addressed a meeting at Shalboni, also once a Maoist stronghold and led a procession at Midnapore. She is concentrating on East Midnapore district, where all 16 Assembly constituencies elected TMC members in the 2011 polls, as she is worried about the Left-Congress tie-up and the BJP’s influence in some pockets.