NEW DELHI: Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday lashed out at Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Alam over his "four new Pakistans" remark and said it has again exposed the true colours of the TMC.
"Reprehensible remarks by Sheikh Alam yet again exposes true colours of TMC. Communal polarisation and appeasement have been a strategy of Didi to remain in power. But, this time, Bengal won't let TMC's allegiance to anti-India ideology go unpunished," Pradhan said a day before the state witnesses the first phase of polling.
Alam made a controversial statement during campaigning, "We are 30 per cent and they are 70 per cent. They will come to power with the support of 70 per cent, they should be ashamed. If our Muslim population moves to one side, then we can create four new Pakistans. Where will 70 per cent of the population go?"
The first phase of elections in West Bengal will be held on Saturday with both the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking to outdo each other in poll promises and campaign rhetoric.
Thirty seats will go to the polls in the first phase and include all constituencies in Purulia and Jhargram and some constituencies from Bankura, Purba Medinipur and Paschim Medinipur.
Elections to 294 constituencies in the state will be held in eight phases till April 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.
The first phase of polling will decide the electoral fate of 191 candidates including 21 women.
TMC had won 27 out of these 30 seats in the 2016 elections and BJP was not a major player in the last polls. However, the party has gained in strength in the past five years and has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling party which has won two successive assembly polls. The BJP won 18 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections against 22 won by the TMC.