BJP responsible for Covid surge in Bengal, will urge EC to prevent entry of outsiders during campaigning : Mamata

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(Adding information) Nabadwip/Jagatdal/Noapara (WB), Apr 16 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday squarely blamed BJP for exacerbating the COVID-19 situation in the state and said she will call upon the Election Commission to stop the saffron party from bringing in 'outsiders' during campaigning for the ongoing assembly election.

Adressing an election meeting here, Banerjee said the BJP brought people from 'worst-hit' states like Gujarat for erecting marquees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rallies.

'I will tell the EC to stop the inflow of outsiders from states like Gujarat who are responsible for the COVID-19 spread in Bengal.

'We have nothing to say if the PM or other leaders come for campaigning... But why should BJP bring people from worst-affected states to set up podiums and pandals for the rallies,' she said.

Local labourers and decorators can be engaged for the purpose after necessary COVID-19 tests, Banerjee said.

At another meeting at Jagatdal, the TMC supremo said that COVID test of those coming from outside, the decorators and workers should be made mandatory.

She claimed that the Covid situation in states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat was far worse than Bengal. 'In UP they (the BJP government of that state) have built walls around cremation sites to secretly burn bodies. The situation in Gujarat is alarming. A Bengali lady professor died there of coronavirus due to lack of treatment.' She also alleged that untrained non-medical persons were administering 'so-called vaccines from BJP party offices in Gujarat'.

Blaming the BJP of trying to stop her from canvassing by 'targeting her leg', Banerjee said she has been able to overcome the situation with the blessings of the people. 'The injury has healed 75 per cent,' she said.

Hitting out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the TMC supremo said he is repeatedly telling in meetings that Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja are not allowed in West Bengal.

'This is nothing but a bunch of lies'.

'And what kind of lies! We don't allow Durga puja, Kali puja, Saraswati puja, Chhat Puja in Bengal? What does he know about our pujas, our culture? Do we sit at home wearing new clothes on Durga puja days and don't go to pandals to offer pushpanjali? 'Don't we hold Lakshmi puja and Saraswati puja at almost every home? Don't we celebrate Chhat puja? Despite being ignorant about Bengal, Amit Shah is repeatedly saying the same thing at every meeting! Will he quit politics if he is proved wrong?,' Banerjee asked.

BJP is following the 'Goebbels theory' to establish a falsehood by repeating it every day. 'But people of the state know the real situation,' she asserted.

She accused BJP of plotting to delete names of bonafide citizens, who had settled in the country decades ago.

'Those who came to the country till March 1971 are citizens. Why will they have to prove their citizenship? Those refugees who have been given land deeds for settling on private or government lands are citizens and cannot be sent to detention camps by BJP.

'Cast your vote and ensure that they (BJP) are not elected and cannot delete your names in any National Population Register exercise,' she said.

Addressing the Matua community, whose members form a significant chunk of the electorate in the border areas of North 24 Parganas district, she said 'Only Trinamool Congress had been on your side for three decades. We had conferred the Bangabibhusan award to Baroma (Binapani Devi, the matriarch of the community), we had supervised all her treatment. Where were those who have suddenly surfaced at Thakurnagar now? 'From building higher educational institutions to rail stations and development of the Matua community headquarters at Thakurnagar, from constituting a board to improve the condition of Namasudras our (TMC) government took up many measures to improve your (Matua community's) condition. BJP only makes empty promises'.

At another meeting at Noapara, Banerjee claimed that her car had been chased by saffron party workers at Bhatpara, an area which is the stronghold of its leader Arjun Singh, in 2019 and that TMC office had been forcibly painted saffron so that BJP could lay claim to them.

'I stood against that terror and we have to resist BJP terror this time,' she added. PTI SUS KK KK KK