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Don't refer to Modi as PM, Mamata tells BJP

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
May 27, 2024 23:58 IST
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said Narendra Modi should be referred to as a Bharatiya Janata Party leader and not as the prime minister in the saffron party's campaign as he is a 'caretaker PM'.

IMAGE: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting in support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate for Jadavpur Sayani Ghosh ahead of the last phase of Lok Sabha Polls, in Kolkata on Sunday, May 26, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Addressing an election rally in Burrabazar area in Kolkata Uttar seat for party candidate Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Banerjee said, "Modi ji has every right to campaign. He has every right to come here and participate in election programmes. But I am surprised to see him being referred to as the PM in his party's campaign advertisements."

"Can he do this? I am being referred to as Trinamool Congress chairperson by my campaign managers and by my party here even though it is not assembly polls. Still, I am adhering to the model code of conduct," she said.


Modi is scheduled to take part in a roadshow in Kolkata on May 28.

Referring to Modi as the 'caretaker PM', Banerjee asserted that the BJP will not return to power for a third term and the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) will form the government at the Centre.

Banerjee expressed her regret at being unable to attend the crucial meeting of the INDIA bloc on June 1 in Delhi due to the seventh-phase polling in West Bengal.

"The INDIA bloc has fixed the meeting for June 1. However, with voting in my state on that day, I informed them I can't attend. Elections are also scheduled in other states like UP and Bihar," she explained.

She highlighted her current priorities, stating, "Cyclone relief on one hand and elections on the other. My heart is preoccupied with these responsibilities."

At a roadshow in Beleghata later in the day, Banerjee announced her plans to conduct an aerial survey of the cyclone-affected areas on May 29.

"Since many areas might still be flooded, it may not be possible for me to visit all the places in person. However, we will ensure all necessary help and relief reach them. Some of my officials, who are currently occupied with election work, have been assigned to manage the relief efforts," she said.

Banerjee accused the BJP of sowing division among communities to gain votes, calling it a 'dangerous game'.

She emphasised her love for all communities, including Marwaris and Biharis, who contribute to West Bengal's diverse culture.

"Please don't fall for any communal rift trap set by the BJP," she urged.

The TMC chairperson accused the opposition, including the BJP, of manipulating her speech to portray her negatively to Muslims and other communities, distorting her message about India's inclusiveness and her commitment to humanity.

"If part of my speech is clipped and shown to make me appear anti-religion, it hurts. At a recent meeting on our development initiatives, I said listing all our initiatives would take more time than reading religious books. Most of that speech was chopped off to give the impression I disrespected religion, which was then made viral to show me as anti-God," she clarified.

"Those who know me understand how much respect I have for every religion, including Hinduism," she added. "Everyone is the same to me, to us."

Banerjee also addressed a fake video circulating to portray TMC candidate and sitting MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay negatively among certain communities.

Accusing the BJP of engineering division among communities, she said, "I love Biharis. I granted a two-day holiday for Chhath, attend Marwari community events, visit Jain temples, and participate in Ramadan during Eid. Everyone knows I stand for unity in diversity and equal religious rights for every community."

She accused Congress of collaborating with the BJP to malign her before minorities.

Regarding cyclone relief, Banerjee said, "Although the issue of those affected by the cyclone occupies my mind, I have to attend election meetings as time is limited. The BJP forced the Election Commission to schedule the polls this way. People are suffering from natural calamities while elections go on for about three months."

"This scheduling was meant to benefit one person, Modi. Why couldn't they hold polls in 24 of the 42 seats in the first phase instead of just four? Despite sending the highest number of forces to Bengal, the BJP will be defeated by the people of Bengal," she asserted.

Banerjee also expressed concern that BJP leaders from Rajasthan and other northern states are meeting with businessmen from certain communities who have lived in Bengal for centuries.

"You stay here, have a good relationship with us. Why fall for their Bengali-non-Bengali ploy? If you dislike me, that's normal in a democracy, but please consider my words," she said.

Labeling the BJP as the 'government of agencies, by agencies, for agencies', she mentioned Sudip Bandyopadhyay, a veteran MP, who was arrested despite no charges being proved against him.

"While Sudipda was not intimidated and stayed with the party, another person got scared after a single ED raid and joined the BJP. We don't want such unprincipled, opportunistic leaders," she said, referring to TMC turncoat and BJP candidate Tapas Roy.

Taking a jibe at Congress candidate Pradip Bhattacharya, Banerjee said, "He is contesting to split the anti-BJP vote and weaken our fight against Modi. Otherwise, why would someone of his age suddenly enter the fray?"

Banerjee predicted that Modi wouldn't secure more than 200 seats in the polls.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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