MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Victor's aim is BJP's win: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

Addressing a public meeting at Chakulia in North Dinajpur, the chief minister said: 'The Congress candidate here has connections with the BJP. He is in the fray not to win but to divide Muslim votes and help the BJP'

Kousik Sen Raiganj Published 23.04.24, 09:20 AM
Mamata Banerjee addresses the public meeting at Chakulia in North Dinajpur on Monday

Mamata Banerjee addresses the public meeting at Chakulia in North Dinajpur on Monday The Telegraph

Mamata Banerjee on Monday alleged that Imran Ali Ramz was contesting from the Raiganj Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket to help the BJP by dividing Muslim votes in the minority-dominated constituency along the Bengal-Bihar border.

Addressing a public meeting at Chakulia in North Dinajpur, the chief minister said: “The Congress candidate here has connections with the BJP. He is in the fray not to win but to divide Muslim votes and help the BJP.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In North Dinajpur, Muslims make up about 50 per cent of the population. In the Islampur subdivision of the district, they constitute around 75 per cent of the electorate.

The Trinamool Congress chairperson had in the past attacked several political forces, including the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) headed by Asaduddin Owaisi, for allegedly acting at the behest of the BJP and dividing Muslim votes.

With four days left for the polls in Raiganj, Mamata tried her best to prevent any split in Muslim votes.

She said Ramz, also known as Victor, was seeking financial assistance from people for his election expenditure, claiming that he didn't have money.

“It is hardly believable that the Congress doesn’t have funds when it is in power in states like Himachal Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. Please don’t buy his theory as eventually, your contributions will go to his pocket. In 2019, Mohammad Salim (of the CPM) had played the same role to help the BJP,” said the chief minister.

She was canvassing for Raiganj Trinamool nominee Krishna Kalyani, a former BJP MLA.

Raiganj — like Malda Uttar and Malda Dakshin and Darjeeling — is a Parliament constituency that Trinamool has never won.

Mamata's apprehension that Trinamul's prospects would significantly go down if Muslim votes were divided was proven right in 2019 when Debasree Chaudhuri of the BJP won from Raiganj defeating Trinamul's Kanaialal Agarwala.

“She had won by a margin of 60,574 votes. Mohammad Salim, on the other hand, had secured 1,83,039 votes. Many believe if Salim had not contested, Trinamool would have bagged the seat. Mamata Banerjee doesn’t want a repeat of 2019,” said an observer.

Trinamool, however, won seven of nine seats in the North Dinajpur district in the 2021 Assembly polls.

Asked about the charges levelled against him by Mamata, Victor said: “Have I committed a crime by filing nominations as a Congress candidate in a constituency which our party has won several times? Trinamool has never won this seat but still, it has fielded its candidates. It is Trinamool that is actually vote-cutter in Raiganj. The allegations levelled by the chief minister are baseless."

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT