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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Mamata Banerjee urges minority not to vote for Congress and Left as it would pave way for BJP

Chief minister raises the spectre of CAA, NRC & detention camps

Avijit Sinha, Soumya De Sarkar Siliguri/Malda Published 29.04.24, 10:07 AM
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee speaks at a public meeting in Habibpur, Malda, on Sunday

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee speaks at a public meeting in Habibpur, Malda, on Sunday

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday urged the minority population of Malda and Murshidabad districts not to vote for the Congress and the Left as it would pave the way for the BJP.

“We have never won any Lok Sabha seats in Malda. This time, you have to give it a serious thought because if you vote Congress and Left in these seats, BJP will win. These two parties are in cahoots with the BJP. If Trinamool doesn’t win the seats and the BJP is voted to power, it will introduce CAA and NRC and will send you to detention camps,” Mamata said at a public meeting in Sujapur, which comes under Malda Dakshin Lok Sabha seats.

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Elections will be held on May 7 in two seats in Malda and two of the three seats in Murshidabad.

While Malda has a Muslim population of around 50 per cent, the community constitutes around 70 per cent of the population in Murshidabad seat.

“Though Congress doesn’t have a single seat in the Assembly, we had offered two seats to the party and had asked them not to join hands with CPM. They, however, didn’t listen and went ahead to forge a tie with the Left. I will never surrender before CPM,” she said.

In Bengal, Trinamool has always enjoyed a strong minority vote bank. In several earlier elections, Muslims have voted in large numbers for the party and helped it increase its scorecard in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

However, the Trinamool leadership, including Mamata, is nervous about five-six seats in the ongoing elections. This is because the Congress has fielded Muslim candidates in Raiganj and Malda Dakshin while CPM state secretary Mohammad Salim is contesting from the Murshidabad seat.

In Raiganj, the Congress has fielded Imran Ali Ramz while Isha Khan Choudhury is contesting in the party’s ticket from Malda Dakshin.

“As there is a minority population of 50 per cent or more in these seats, TMC is apprehensive that if Congress candidates draw considerable support from Muslims, the BJP might get the benefit as the saffron camp has started polarising votes in these districts. That is why, the chief minister was insistent that Muslims should vote for her party and not the Congress or the Left,” said a political veteran in Malda.

The apprehension was evident as all these three candidates came in Mamata’s line of fire. “They have fielded (Mohammad) Salim in Murshidabad, and another here (in Malda Dakshin) and another in Raiganj. But Congress will not win in Bengal… it will win in other states. We didn’t go to other states to disturb others (political parties). But here, these people are acting as vote-cutters. I would urge you not to vote for these vote-cutters,” said the chief minister.

She went on to prove that the TMC was “different” from other parties. “We have always worked for the minority community. We have 13 Rajya Sabha MPs and among them is Mausam Noor from Malda. We have four MPs from the minority community in Rajya Sabha. This proves our intent to work and move together with all communities,” she said.

In the Upper House, the other three MPs who are from minority communities are Derek O’Brian, Samirul Islam and Md Nadimul Haque.

“Let me reiterate that if the INDIA bloc comes to power, we will be instrumental in forming the government. But you have to vouch that you will topple (Narendra) Modi from his seat,” she said.

Throughout her speech, Mamata tried to prove that her government has worked a lot for the Muslims.

“During the Left rule, the annual allocation (for minorities) was around Rs 400 crore. We have increased to Rs 4,500 crore. We provide allowances to imams and muezzins. Also, Muslims comprise around 97 per cent of the OBC categories for which there is a reservation of around 17 per cent,” the chief minister said.

Later in the day, she reached Habibpur in Malda Uttar seat. In this part of the district, there is a considerable population of tribals.

In her speech, Mamata flagged the Sarna religious code issue, a longstanding demand of the tribals.

“The BJP has not done anything for the tribal population. We have sent recommendations several times to the Centre, seeking recognition of Sarna as a separate religious code. They have not yet done it,” she said.

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