KALAIKUNDA (West Midnapore): Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, in a no-holds-barred attack on Thursday, said the BJP’s “gas balloon” had become an “election cash balloon”, accused the party of a bankruptcy of ideas, saying even the “paribartan” slogan was stolen from the Trinamool Congress, as it “could not think up anything new”, and dubbed the party’s pre-poll promises as “lies and deceit”.
“Paribartan came to Bengal in 2011,” Banerjee said at an election rally, one of three she addressed in the district during the day. “Now, paribartan will come to Delhi. After winning Bengal, we will stake claim on Delhi with our allies. They (the BJP) know this and are scared. That is why they want to stop Mamata Banerjee at all cost…. BJP’s gas balloon has now become an election cash balloon. Would anyone sell their soul for money?… It is only power they aspire for, not working for people.”
Dubbing BJP’s pre-poll promises as “lies and deceits”, the CM accused the BJP-run Centre of “theft and trickery”.
“Everyone of you has some form of insurance; this is being privatised. You keep money in banks; these are being privatised. Whom will you turn to in distress? Everything is being sold — the Railways, Air India, BSNL. One day, they will sell India. If one steals Rs 500, it can be seen. But in this political theft and trickery, lakhs of crores are being stolen. No one speaks of PM Care any more. And he (Modi) claimed himself to be the paharadar (guard)…. Mamata Banerjee is your paharadar in Bengal. I will stop them. I stay with you in your pain and happiness. It is people who keep driving me. Even now, when I can’t stand on my feet, it is you for whom I am fighting,” she said.
The CM also brought up the troubles faced by ordinary people during the 2016 demonetisation and the pandemic-induced lockdown last year. “You have seen notebandi. You have seen how people had to return home during the lockdown. No one was given help, not even food. Do they even feel people’s pain?” she said, adding, “We (the state government) paid for the 300 trains to bring you back. We sent out money for people stuck in states outside, even in Vellore for treatment. When they refused to step out of homes, I was on the streets with you…. Now, you must decide whether you want Didi by your side. This is not an election for Delhi; this is an election for Bengal. If you want me, every vote you cast for TMC candidates is a vote for me.”
Banerjee also accused the BJP of practising politics of division. “They talk of religion… Mukhe hari hari ar pichone dakati kori (They chanting ‘Hari Hari’ as a front while looting people). They talk of divisiveness. We talk of work done and what we want to do. They talk of NPR and NRC,”she said, adding, “They want to decide who stays in homes, and who doesn’t. I have not allowed NPR in Bengal. Why do Indian citizens have to reaffirm their nationality? Haven’t they been staying in India for generations? Will they now need certificates from BJP?”
She also reminded the crowd of the Trinamool’s “development-oriented” election manifesto, released on Wednesday. “If we come to power, everyone will get free ration at their doorsteps. You will get health benefits. Widower’s pension will be provided to widows above 18 years of age, there will be no quotas or cap in numbers. We will also fund children’s higher studies with this Rs 10-lakh credit card scheme. Not all parents can afford their children to study engineering or medical. The students can do it on their own, and we will stand guarantee to those credit cards. This will be in addition to all existing schemes. You must now decide what you want. Do you want Khadya Sathi, Swasthya Sathi, Kanyashree, Rupashree to continue, or you want them stopped?”
The Cm also urged people not to vote for the CPM or the Congress, as it would mean “voting for the BJP”. “What do you do when there is a snake at your doorstep, or if a tiger lurks outside? You don’t let them enter homes. CPM-er harmad gulo ekhon BJPr ostad hoyeche (the CPM toughs have now become BJP leaders). I would urge all CPM- and Congress-minded people that voting for CPM or Congress is voting for the BJP. Peace has returned to these parts after years of bloodshed and terror. The same leaders who had scripted the skeleton episode (the Garbeta skeleton case) are now back; do not vote for them,” she said, adding, “Midnapore is a land of revolutionaries and freedom fighters. Do I need to remind people on their (the BJP’s) role during the freedom struggle or in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination?”