BJP ahead in 92 of 135 seats after four phases of poll in Bengal: Shah

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(Eds: Adding more quotes, collating stories) Dhupguri/Hemtabad/Siliguri, Apr 12 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday asserted that the BJP is ahead in 92 of the 135 seats that went to polls in the first four phases of the West Bengal assembly elections, and asked people to give a grand farewell to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by handing over 200 plus seats to the saffron party.

Seeking to allay fears created among the people of Darjeeling hills by 'lies' spread by the Trinamool Congress, the senior BJP leader said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will have no impact on the Gorkhas.

'In the four phases of elections held so far in West Bengal, the BJP is ahead in over 92 seats,' Shah said, addressing a public meeting at Dhupguri assembly constituency in North Bengals Jalpaiguri district, which goes to polls in the fifth phase on April 17.

He said that as Banerjee is a 'big leader', people should give her a grand farewell by ensuring that the saffron party wins more than 200 seats in the elections for the 294- member assembly.

Mocking Banerjee, also the TMC supremo, for allegedly uttering his name more than that of Bengal in her speeches, Shah said had she talked more about the state, the CM could have had a chance to win the elections.

He said that the death of four men in firing by the CISF personnel at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district during polling on April 10 is sad.

Banerjee condemned the death of these four people but did not even mention the name of Anand Barman, a BJP worker who was also shot dead by miscreants in Sitalkuchi on the same day, as he was from the Rajbangshi community which is not her vote bank, Shah claimed.

He also said that the chief minister did not order a probe into the death of Barman.

Banerjee has said that her government will initiate a CID investigation into the deaths of the four people, stated to be TMC supporters.

'Should there be appeasement in death?' Shah asked.

The Union minister said that those responsible for Barmans death will be put behind bars.

At another rally in Hemtabad in Uttar Dinajpur district, he said that BJP's nominee from the seat, Chandrima Roy, is an example of alleged atrocities that his party's workers and women have gone through under Mamata Banerjee's rule.

Roy is the widow of BJP MLA from Hemtabad, Debendra Nath Roy, who was found hanging in front of a tea shop, about one km from his home, in July 2020. While the BJP claimed that he was murdered, the police said that he died by suicide.

Shah claimed that more than 130 BJP workers have been killed in the state and 'Didi's (Banerjees) goons' think nothing will happen to them.

'I want to tell the TMC goons that Didi's government will go on May 2 (when votes will be counted). Even if you hide below the ground, we will find you and send you to jail,' he said.

Shah said that no one will have the guts to disturb the voters anymore when they go to cast their votes on April 17 in the fifth phase.

After the death of the four people in CISF firing in the fourth phase, the TMC chief has demanded Shah's resignation.

'If people want, I will tender my resignation,' he said, claiming that Banerjee will surely have to resign after the election results are announced.

'I pray every day that Didi's foot gets better soon so that she can walk to submit her resignation on May 2,' he said.

Banerjee suffered a foot injury while campaigning last month and is canvassing sitting on a wheelchair since then.

Addressing a crowd after a roadshow at Kalimpong in Darjeeling hills, the Union home minister said, 'The NRC has not yet been implemented, but whenever it is done, not a single Gorkha will be asked to leave. The Trinamool Congress is lying about the possible fallout of the NRC on the Gorkhas in order to create fear among them.' Darjeeling and Kalimpong have suffered atrocities for long and in 1986, over 1,200 Gorkhas lost their lives, but they did not get justice, he claimed.

There was a violent agitation over separate Gorkhaland state in 1986 when the Left Front government was in power.

Shah also alleged that the Mamata Banerjee government has also been responsible for the death of many Gorkhas.

Darjeeling and its adjoining areas were also rocked by the statehood agitation in 2017.

As long as the Narendra Modi-led BJP government is there at the Centre, no Gorkha will be harmed, he said.

Shah also participated in a roadshow at Siliguri, the largest city in North Bengal, in the evening.

Thousands of people took part in an over hour-long roadshow.

Standing on a deck built on a lorry, Shah showered flower petals at the crowd as the procession went ahead.

'I have seen and participated in many roadshows in my life, but have never seen anything like this,' a visibly pleased Shah said at the end of the event.

Shah promised that the Bagdogra airport near Siliguri will be turned into an international facility. PTI AMR RBT NN NN