BJP leaders using rath yatra to divide society:Mamata

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(Additional inputs and collating two rallies) Raiganj/Malda, Feb 10 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday mocked BJP leaders for travelling on raths 'as if they are gods', and alleged saffron partys rath yatra is meant to create division in the society on the basis of religion.

Accusing the saffron party of resorting to 'lies' about Hinduism, Banerjee said the desperation to defeat her has stemmed from the BJPs ambition to wipe out the last opposition bastion in the country.

Addressing two back-to-back rallies in the minority Muslims dominated Uttar Dinajpur and Malda districts, Banerjee appealed to the voters to ensure victory of the TMC candidate and not waste their votes by casting them in favour of 'stooge of BJP from Hyderabad',in a swipe at Asaduddin Owaisis AIMIM.

After impressive showinbg in the neighbouring Bihar, AIMIM is preparing to fight assembly elections in Bengal where Muslim voters form a sizeable section of the electorate.

'Rath yatra is a religious festival. All of us have participated in this festival. We know Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Goddess Subhadra travel in those chariots.

'But, the BJP leaders are using this rath yatra for their own political purposes to divide the society and pit one against the other. BJP leaders are travelling on raths as if they are gods,' she said.

Making a scathing attack at the BJP, she said while addressing a rally in Raiganj, 'its leaders are fake Hindus, they are maligning the sacred festival by using it to serve their vested interests.

'They are using money looted from the public to have a gala time. They should have shame on themselves.' They are committing 'sins' in the name of religion, the TMC supremo said.

Without naming BJP national president J P Nadda for his comments that the Bengals culture is under threat in TMCs regime, the feisty TMCs boss, said those who have 'no knowledge about Bengals culture are lecturing others on protecting it'.

'They dont know where Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was born, they cant properly spell the names of our icons such as Swami Vivekananda and lecturing us on protecting Bengals culture.

'We dont need sermons from outsiders on how to protect our heritage. They had vandalised the bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and are now talking about respecting Bengali icons. The BJP is a party of hypocrites,' she said.

Reiterating her charge that BJP is bringing outsiders to the state for the assembly elections due in April-May, the TMC boss claimed that all they do is eat at houses of locals for a photo opportunity.

'Some outsiders are coming in luxury cars and indulging in photo sessions to show they are having food at houses of villagers,' she said, alleging that the food is brought from five-star hotels.

The BJP has kicked off five-phased rath yatra, christened as 'Parivartan Yatra' in poll-bound Bengal.

Later, while speaking at Malda, Banerjee said the BJP is living in fools paradise by thinking that she can be defeated so easily.

'You are wrong to think that TMC can be defeated so easily.

We have peoples support. They are living in foolss paradise.

'The BJP leaders are coming from outside and are desperate to defeat me to wipe out the last opposition bastion in the country. They know if the TMC is defeated no one will be left in the country to oppose them,' she said.

'Bengal will be ruled by those from the state and not by people coming from Gujarat and Delhi. People from Delhi cant control Bengal. We will never allow that,' Banerjee said.

Training her guns at the party deserters, she said they would be defeated in the upcoming assembly polls and asked the fence-sitters in the party to quit it as early as possible.

'Those who want to leave the party can go ahead. The doors are open. No one should think that they can blackmail us to get tickets. We had given organisational responsibilities to few people they had looted and now switched over to the BJP. It is good that the rotten elements, who were sabotaging us, have left,' she said.

Unleashing a stinging attack on the BJP over the party inducting a raft of leaders from other political parties, Banerjee said the BJP had turned itself into 'washing powder' where 'the so-called tainted leaders come out clean after joining the saffron camp'.

Without naming anyone, Banerjee took a dig at AIMIM and termed them as 'agents of BJP'.

'Some agents of BJP have come to Bengal and are projecting themselves as messiah of poor and minorities. I want to caution all of you, that dont fall into their trap.

They are agents of the BJP,' she said.

Attacking the CPI(M)-led Left Front in the state, she alleged that there is no difference between them and the BJP.

'What was Bam (Left) is now BJP's Shyam,' she wryly said.

Taking a dig at the BJP for sending a chartered plane to fly TMC turncoats to Delhi for induction in the saffron camp, Banerjee said the the BJP leadership is insensitive towards the agony of the farmers.

'The farmers of the country are crying because of polices of BJP. But the arrogant BJP leadership dont care about them.

The farmers of our state are in a much better condition in comparison to other states,' she said.

Highlighting welfare programmes and doles to various classes given by her government, she said the TMC will continue with these after the assembly elections. PTI PNT SNS SNS