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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee both endorse party winning all three seats in north Bengal

3 seats already in kitty, say Mamata and Abhishek to attack 400-paar narrative

Kousik Sen, Soumya De Sarkar Raiganj/Malda Published 21.04.24, 10:10 AM
Mamata Banerjee & Abhishek Banerjee (right)

Mamata Banerjee & Abhishek Banerjee (right)

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee both endorsed on Saturday that the party would win all three seats in north Bengal where elections were held on Friday, the approach making it clear that Bengal's ruling party has found its response to the BJP's “400 paar” (400-plus) war cry.

Mamata, at two public meetings in Malda where elections would be held in the third phase on May 7, announced that Trinamool nominees bagged the three north Bengal seats before she drilled holes into the BJP narrative about the likely outcome of the general election.

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“The BJP is claiming that it will cross the 400 (seats) mark. Where will they get so many votes from? The party will not get votes in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They simply make such claims as last time (in 2019) they got 303 seats,” said the Trinamool chairperson.

Then she referred to the 2021 Bengal elections to state how the BJP's 200-plus narrative went awry. “Their claim fell flat as they couldn’t even cross 100 and ended at 77. Among them (the BJP MLAs), 10 have joined us. The party will face a similar situation this time,” added Mamata.

On Friday, after elections were held in three constituencies of north Bengal, Trinamool held ananda michhils or happiness rallies to celebrate their "win".

The move was seen as a bid to keep party workers and leaders motivated for polls in 39 more Lok Sabha seats in Bengal till June 1.

Abhishek, in Goalpokhar on Saturday to campaign for Krishna Kalyani, Trinamool's nominee for Raiganj, said voters on Friday inflicted a surgical strike on the BJP.

“The first phase of elections were held in Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduars on Friday. People, including mothers, sisters and brothers of the three constituencies inflicted a surgical strike against those who are anti-Bengal...," the Trinamool national general secretary told a 25,000-strong crowd in Hindi.

“You will get your chance to answer them (the BJP) on April 26 (the second phase of polls when Darjeeling, Raiganj and Balurghat vote)," he added.

He questioned the BJP's 400-plus narrative, which some political observers think has recently toned down.

“Modi says this time they will cross 400, I can assure you that he should wait to have a 440 (volt) shock after the outcome of this election on June 4,” Abhishek said.

While the two top Trinamool leaders made their claims to exert pressure on the BJP, Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of Opposition in the Assembly, claimed that the BJP would retain the three north Bengal seats.

“The three constituencies of Cooch Behar, Alipurduars and Jalpaiguri witnessed high voter turnout and we are pretty confident that after the first phase, the score in West Bengal is: BJP-3, Family-based Party-0,” he posted on social media.

On Saturday, as Adhikari reached Malda to campaign, he said: “Trinamool will suffer a miserable defeat in these three seats. The party held rallies to substantiate its false claims.”

During campaigns, Abhishek and Mamata were equally critical of the Congress and the Left.

“The Congress and the Left have put candidates to cut votes and help the BJP. Such strategies will not work,” said Mamata.

Abhishek, too, added: “These parties are working together for the BJP and want to divide anti-BJP votes. You should not fall into this trap. Stand by Trinamool."

Political observers pointed out that after the first phase, the top two in Trinamool were focusing on the remaining seats of north Bengal which will vote on April 26 and May 7. Among them, Trinamool has never won in four seats — Darjeeling, Raiganj, Malda North and South.

In the twin Malda seats and Raiganj, there is a 50 per cent minority population. “The Congress has fielded Muslim candidates in these seats. The BJP is all set to polarise votes here. Trinamool has fielded a Muslim candidate for Malda South, but the party is under pressure in these seats,” said an observer.

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