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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Bengal polls 2021: Modi dubs Mamata ‘conspirator’

The PM alleged that the CM's 'master plan' to rig the polls was behind the incident in Sitalkuchi that claimed four lives

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar, Subhasish Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 13.04.21, 01:45 AM
Modi at a rally in Burdwan.

Modi at a rally in Burdwan. Munshi Muklesur Rahaman

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday alleged that chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s “master plan” to rig the polls was behind the incident in Sitalkuchi that claimed four lives on Saturday.

Modi, who addressed three poll rallies — at Burdwan, Kalyani and Barasat — on Monday, also alleged Mamata and her party was against Scheduled Caste communities.

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“Friends, facing her own defeat, now Didi (Mamata) has a new war strategy. It is Didi’s conspiracy by which the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and OBC…nobody will be allowed to vote. It is her conspiracy that people from these groups are stopped from voting and her goons cast false votes. (It is) openly being said that Trinamul’s people will ‘gherao’ central forces and other supporters of Didi will enter (the booth) and cast false votes. Rumours are that what happened in Cooch Behar was a part of Didi’s false-vote masterplan,” Modi said in Kalyani.

Though the BJP top brass , including Modi and Amit Shah, have repeatedly held Mamata responsible for Saturday’s Sitalkuchi incident, this was the first time Mamata was accused as a conspirator.

The BJP’s narrative so far has been to accuse Mamata of inciting people against central forces. On Sunday, Shah referred to a statement made by Mamata on April 8 in Sitalkuchi where she asked people to “gherao” central forces if they tried to stir trouble or work for the BJP. Modi made a similar charge on Saturday.

But a BJP leader said Modi’s Monday speech was a direct attack on Mamata. “What Modiji said meant Sitalkuchi’s incident was a fallout of Mamata’s conspiracy. For the rest four phases this may turn out to be our biggest weapon.”

At East Burdwan, Modi held Mamata responsible for the death of a police officer from Bihar who was allegedly lynched in North Dinajpur on Friday night. Ashwini Kumar, the station officer of Kishanganj had gone to neighbouring Panthapara village in connection with a bike-theft case filed at his police station. He was allegedly lynched there. On Sunday, his mother died of shock.

At the same rally, Modi for over six minutes held forth on Mamata and her party’s alleged aversion towards people from the backward classes by referring to an alleged caste taunt made by BJP MP Saumitra Khan’s wife and Trinamul’s Arambagh nominee Sujata Mondal.

In a video circulated by the BJP, the veracity of which has not been checked by this paper, Mondal is heard saying that SC people were “beggars by nature” and would sell their votes to the BJP no matter what Mamata did for them.

Modi attacked Mamata on the same issue in Kalyani too.

“...Didi’s leaders are openly abusing the SC, ST and OBCs of Bengal...Only because they support the BJP. Didi, respected Didi, O Didi..., Bengal’s Scheduled Caste, Bengal’s Adivasis, Bengal’s OBC, Bengal’s forest dwellers…Didi you’ll scare them, threaten them, abuse them. But Didi, write it down, their affection for Modi will never decrease. Didi, O Didi, your colleagues can insult Bengal’s Scheduled Castes by calling them beggars, but for us, for the BJP, their honour is supreme,” Modi said.

SC groups contribute to around 23 per cent voters in Bengal. The Rajbanshis of North Bengal comprise the biggest share. The Matuas, another SC group, dominate poll battles in the Assemblies of North 24-Parganas, Nadia and parts of Dinajpur. These seats go to polls in the fifth phase. BJP leaders said Modi’s jibe at Mamata on the SC issue was aimed to woo these voters.

Modi reminded his audience in Kalyani, a large section of whom were Matuas, of his visit to Orakandi in Bangladesh, the birthplace of the spiritual leader of the Matua sect Harichand Thakur. He said Mamata was upset with him for visiting Orakandi.

Hitting back at Modi on the SC issue from one of her poll rallies in Ranaghat, Mamata said she won’t take lessons from those responsible for the Hathras incident. She accused the local Cooch Behar SP of being involved in the “conspiracy” to open fire on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Snehamoy Chakraborty

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