The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ballot punch for bullets: Buddha

Patharpratima (South 24-Parganas), April 26: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today warned the Trinamul Congress-BJP combine that if it tried to incite violence in the run-up to the panchayat polls it would be “taught a proper lesson by the people of Bengal”.

“We will not tolerate the barbarism of the Trinamul Congress and the BJP. I have told the administration to tackle violence with an iron hand. I am also urging you not to be provoked by them and make efforts to maintain peace in the villages. Give your reply only through the ballot,’’ the chief minister said.

Bhattacharjee kicked off his campaign with an impassioned plea to a large gathering at Bijayganj Bazar here not to cast a single vote in favour of the Trinamul-BJP alliance.

“Do not cast your vote for any party that has no ideology, no political slogan, no discipline and which does not stand beside you during times of crisis. You have created resources in the villages by means of hard labour, established peace and prosperity and your rights. But the Trinamul-BJP (combine) intends to loot the resources, snatch your rights and shatter the peace. So be careful in casting your vote,’’ Bhattacharjee warned.

He said the Left Front government gives top priority to rural development and, accordingly, allots funds. “We have taken up several rural development projects by taking financial assistance from foreign agencies. Besides, I have urged deputy chairman of the Planning Commission K.C. Pant to allot funds for augmentation of drinking water and rural electrification (projects).”

Apart from this rally, Bhattacharjee also spoke at the BDO maidan here. Political observers said the chief minister chose to begin from South 24-Parganas as in many seats, the Congress, the Trinamul and the BJP have cobbled together a temporary “mahajot” against the Left.

Moreover, the Party for Democratic Socialism formed by rebel CPM leaders Samir Putatunda, a former party secretary of the district, and Saifuddin Chowdhury is contesting independently.

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