Central agencies asking TMC leaders to join BJP or face action: Mamata

The TMC chief also took on the ECI, stating that on her way to the rally venue, she saw hoardings of central schemes with PM Modi's photos, which violated the MCC.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the rally in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Purulia constituency, Santiram Mahato for the LS elections, in Purulia.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the rally in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Purulia constituency, Santiram Mahato for the LS elections, in Purulia. Photo | ANI

PURULIA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged the central investigating agencies were asking TMC leaders to either join the BJP or face action.

Addressing an election rally in Purulia district, she alleged agencies such as the ED, CBI, NIA and the I-T Department were working as "arms" of the BJP.

"Agencies such as the NIA, ED and CBI are being used to harass TMC leaders. They are carrying out raids without prior information, and barging into houses. What the women would do if someone entered their house when everyone was asleep in the dead of night?" she asked.

Banerjee was referring to Saturday's incident in Bhupatinagar where a team of the NIA was attacked by a mob when it went to arrest two suspects in a blast case.

"The agencies are asking our leaders and activists to either join the BJP or face action," she alleged.

Asking people not to fall for any provocation, Banerjee alleged the BJP would fan communal passions on Ram Navami, which is on April 17.

"Will tell you (BJP) one thing, organise rallies but don't indulge in riots. Polling will be held on April 19, and they will do riots on April 17. Lord Ram didn't ask you to trigger riots. But they will do that, and then bring in the NIA," she alleged.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the rally in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Purulia constituency, Santiram Mahato for the LS elections, in Purulia.
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The chief minister also accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of depriving West Bengal of funds for MGNREGA and PM-Awas schemes.

She said the state government will provide Rs 1.2 lakh each for building houses for the poor, particularly in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Coochbehar which have been affected by last week's storm.

"The EC will not give permission to us to give the money now. After the elections, we will construct the houses of the poor," she said.

Banerjee said the state government will provide work to the poor under its own scheme.

"This year, if possible, we will arrange 60 days' work," she said.

Banerjee said her government had sent a list to the Centre of 11 lakh people eligible to get houses under PM-Awas, but the BJP was using the details in that list for election purposes and calling up the people, asking them to apply afresh.

"Please don't make any fresh applications.After elections, we will build houses for all the 11 lakh people with the state's own funds," she said.

Taking on the BJP, she said the Centre had sent 136 teams to the state to find the irregularities alleged by its leaders.

"But, what came out in the investigation? Please issue a white paper," she said, targeting the Centre.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the rally in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Purulia constituency, Santiram Mahato for the LS elections, in Purulia.
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Banerjee said the TMC believed in delivering its promises, asking the women attending the rally to check whether the monthly assistance of Rs 1,000 under the state's 'Lakshmir Bhandar' scheme has reached their bank accounts.

"I am sure you have received it already. Those who haven't got it will get it soon. Already 2.5 crore women are getting the money," she added.

The TMC chief also took on the Election Commission, stating that on her way to the rally venue, she saw hoardings of central schemes with PM Narendra Modi's photos, which violated the model code of conduct.

"You have covered my photos in the hoardings of state government's projects. No issue as that is how it should have been as election dates have been announced. But why did you leave out PM Modi's photos? Not done," she said.

Banerjee claimed the BJP was booking all the rest houses, lodges and helipads for its leaders, depriving the TMC, which was affecting the level-playing field.

"The NIA is enquiring at the guest houses to know if any TMC leader was staying there. It is keeping us under surveillance," she alleged.

Banerjee claimed the BJP was shedding "crocodile tears" in West Bengal where women are worshipped, but turned a blind eye to the "atrocities in Manipur where a woman was paraded naked". She said in West Bengal, it was her TMC that was fighting the BJP.

"Here the CPI(M), Congress and BJP have joined hands. If people of the state want to defeat an undemocratic force like BJP, TMC is the only party they should support," she said.

Accusing the BJP of "snatching the rights and liberties" of the people, Banerjee claimed that, in contrast, TMC believes in the individual rights of every citizen.

"We fielded Shatrughan Sinha in Asansol, we also nominated Kirti Azad. Bengalis, non-Bengalis, Hindus, Muslims, tribals, non-tribals all live together in Bengal," she said.

Banerjee said that before 2011 people were scared to visit Purulia because of Maoist activities.

"Compare that with today's situation. From hotels and lodges to homestays, everything is available here now," she said.

Blaming the Centre, she said the JICA-assisted project to supply water to the people of Purulia is yet to be complete.

"The person (BJP's Jyotirmay Singh Mahato) who won from Purulia in 2019, what has he done for the people? The main issue you are facing is of drinking water. Even after 12 years, the JICA-assisted project is not complete.

The Bengal government now guarantees you that water will reach every house soon," she said, urging people to vote for TMC candidate Shantiram Mahato.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the rally in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Purulia constituency, Santiram Mahato for the LS elections, in Purulia.
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