West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday addressed the Trinamool Congress' annual Martyrs' Day rally. During her address, she accused the BJP-led central government of having won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by cheating, using EVMs, CRPF and the Election Commission. She also blamed the saffron party for trying to capture Trinamool Congress (TMC) party offices, and beating and attacking TMC party workers. Banerjee also said that she will request the Election Commission to conduct the upcoming panchayat and municipal elections through ballot paper.
Banerjee also alleged that central agencies are threatening TMC leaders and elected representatives with prison terms in chit fund scam cases if they don't join the BJP.
The TMC chief accused the saffron party of luring TMC MLAs with money and other perks.
The chief minister, speaking at her first major political rally after the Lok Sabha polls, also said the party will launch a statewide protest on 26 July, demanding return of black money "siphoned off" by the BJP.
Earlier, the TMC supremo had also accused the BJP-led Central government of trying to foil her party's 'Martyrs Day' rally by operating only 30 percent of the trains usually run on other Sundays. "I have heard that the railways will not operate the usual number of trains tomorrow at the behest of the BJP. I have information that they will run only 30 percent of the trains usually run on Sundays. This is not right," Banerjee had said.
West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee: I will request the Election Commission to conduct Panchayat and Municipal elections through ballot paper. https://t.co/fj7jmTjwU2
— ANI (@ANI) July 21, 2019
West Bengal's ruling party had earlier filed an FIR against BJP state president Dilip Ghosh for allegedly threatening to drag TMC leaders out of buses on their way to the rally, if they failed to return the "cut money" they had collected from people."We will not allow any of the TMC leaders to leave for tomorrow's rally if they do not return the cut money they had taken from people. We will drag them out of the buses," Ghosh had said. After this, TMC leader and minister Chandrima Bhattacharya lodged an FIR against Ghosh.
In this regard, NDTV quoted Banerjee as saying during Sunday's rally, "Cut money? You are asking TMC to return cut money? Give us back the promised Rs 15 lakh black money". Referring the saffron party as the "biggest dacoits" she said, "Where did the BJP get all the black money with which you have built offices everywhere? (sic) Money that you got from demonetisation....return the money".
She further alleged, "The BJP is offering Rs 2 crore and a petrol pump to our MLAs to switch over... Just like in Karnataka, the BJP is indulging in horse trading everywhere".
India Today also quoted Banerjee's comments on allegations of intimidation during the West Bengal panchayat polls, in which she said, "Media here raised such a fuss... But 86 percent seats went uncontested in Tripura. Did the media report?"
The Martyrs' Day rally is organised by the party every year on 21 July in the memory of 13 Youth Congress activists killed in police firing in 1993 during the Left Front regime in West Bengal. Banerjee was a leader of the Youth Congress at that time.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 21, 2019 17:04:27 IST