(Eds: Adds inputs) Mejia/Chhatna/Raypur (WB), Mar 16 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of 'hatching a conspiracy' to harass TMC leaders ahead of the assembly polls, and sought to know if the Election Commission (EC) is taking instructions from him.
The CM also said that she would be forced to stage a protest outside the poll panel's office, if the BJP continues to 'interfere' in its day-to-day functioning.
Contending that Shah is 'frustrated' over the poor turnout at his rallies, Banerjee, who addressed three public meetings in Bankura during the day, accused the BJP of plotting to kill her, and claimed that her director of security, Vivek Sahay, was removed from the post by the poll panel, following her injury in Nandigram, for this reason.
Referring to the last week's 'attack' on her in Nandigram, where she has crossed swords with her protege- turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari, Banerjee said no injury can stop her from ensuring her party's victory in the polls.
'Amit Shah is frustrated as his rallies have registered poor turnout. Instead of running the country, he is sitting in Kolkata and hatching conspiracies to harass TMC leaders. What do they want? Do they want to kill me? Do they think they can win elections by killing me? If they think so, they are wrong,' she said.
Urging the EC to take note of Shah's 'antics', Banerjee wondered whether the EC has been reduced to a political tool of the saffron party.
'Is Amit Shah running the EC? (It seems) he is giving instructions to the EC. What happened to their independence? My director security (Vivek Sahay) was removed (by EC) under his instructions,' she said.
Banerjee claimed Shah, who held a series of meetings with the state leadership on Monday night, has understood well that his party is still miles away from the seat of power.
'Will the home minister run the country or spend time harassing senior government officials, politicians? Will he harass the home secretary? Send CBI notice? 'They are booking all hotels. They are planning to frame cases against TMC candidates, send CBI, ED teams to harass political rivals? They are sending notices to those behind the Nandigram land movement. Bankura and Bengal should show others the way to defeat these dictators,' she said.
Demanding free LPG gas for every citizen, she said, the BJP is 'selling off' railways, Coal India, closing down BSNL and banks and 'people should unite against this move'.
'They have renamed a stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If they get to have their way they will change the name of the country,' she said.
At another meeting in Chhatna, the CM said 'Bengal will soon vote to decide who will be at the helm.' Continuing her tirade against Shah, she said, 'There is a home minister who garlands a statue mistaking it for that of Birsa Munda's. The bust of Vidyasagar statue was also vandalised in his presence.
'He is professing his love for backward communities by bringing food from five-star hotels and savouring the items at their households, just for the cameras,' she said.
The feisty TMC boss said she and other party leaders hit the streets in the interest of people amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while BJP leaders chose to stay at home.
Talking about the measures taken by her dispensation to fight the pandemic, the CM said, 'I had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for arranging free vaccination for everyone in Bengal. I had said that we are ready to bear the cost. But he did not respond.' In a jibe at TMC's other rival, the CPI(M), she said, 'erstwhile 'harmads' (goons) of the Left party have now joined hands with the BJP. Please beware of them.' Criticising the TMC turncoats who joined the BJP, she said, 'It is good riddance that the traitors have left. Those leaving the party just before the crucial battle are, in any case, not required by the Trinamool Congress.' The TMC supremo further alleged that the saffron party is 'bribing people and buying votes'.
'They are bringing strongmen from outside to loot votes. Please be alert when you see strangers visiting your area during elections,' she cautioned.
The CM, during her third rally in Raypur, iterated that her party members are being heckled every now and then, and asked the poll panel to take cognisance of the matter.
'If the BJP continues to interfere with the functioning of the EC, I will be forced to stage protest outside its office with my broken leg,' Banerjee stressed.
She asserted that the youth and the womenfolk of the state would continue to support her.
'You can try to bend me, you can try to keep me home by breaking my foot, but I will continue to protest against your (BJP's )politics of hatred. Lakhs of mothers, sisters are with me, lakhs of youth are with me,' the CM added. PTI SUS PNT RMS RMS