Landslide victory a vindication of fight to protect communal harmony

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(With additional details, quotes) Kolkata, May 2 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday said described her party Trinamool Congress' 'landslide victory' in the state assembly poll as a vindication of its fight to protect communal harmony.

Banerjee, whose poll result in Nandigram is yet to be declared by the Election Commission, said she will accept the verdict of the people.

The TMC supremo, however, said she had information about 'malpractices' in some areas of the constituency and asserted that she will find those out.

Banerjee, who appeared disappointed with the situation in Nandigram, the only seat she contested, said she had decided to fight from there and not her home seat Bhabanipur in the city as she had led the anti-farmland acquisition movement there.

'Let the people of Nandigram decide ... I will accept whatever verdict they give. But our (TMC) victory is a landslide one across the state where everyone - women, youth, minorities voted for us,' she said.

Banerjee said that she had set the target of winning 221 out of the 294 seats despite BJP's appeals for a double engine government (government of the same party at the Centre and the state) and thanked the people for voting for TMC in a way which enabled it to win with huge margins in a number of seats.

'I thank the people for saving the country, for saving its communal harmony. I am proud of Bengal. It is a landslide victory which will not allow anyone to say anything. They (BJP) claimed that they will win 200 seats. Can they show their faces after this?,' she said and hoped that BJP will face similar rout in polls elsewhere.

'Anyway our humble regards to all central leaders who came here and campaigned against us. And obviously to those who came here from different parts and campaigned for us,' Banerjee said.

She promised that the new government that will be headed by her will provide free COVID-19 vaccine to the entire population of Bengal. The Centre too should provide free vaccines to the entire 140 crore population of the country for which it will have to spend Rs 30,000 crore. She will sit in protest at the Gandhi statue in the city soon if the Centre failed.

Alleging that the EC and BJP had 'played dirty politics' and made the situation difficult for TMC, Banerjee said the people of Bengal - mothers, sisters and brothers, minorities and youth supported TMC which helped it to fight the poll battle.

'The EC behave in a rude manner with us ... It fought with us just like a BJP spokesperson. We will go to court against it,' she said.

TMC along with other like minded parties will move the Supreme Court constitutional bench against the EC, she said.

'Two, three nominated persons cannot decide the fate of this country and its elections,' she said.

She thanked the leaders of different parties for congratulating her for the stupendous victory.

Banerjee said she has information about counting malpractice and if necessary her party will move court.

Banerjee said that in view of the COVID-19 situation there will be no victory processions and the swearing-in function will be a small one. 'We will organize a big victory procession at Brigade when the pandemic situation improves'.

She declined to comment on the performance of the Left and Congress. 'Ask the Left and Congress about this. It is their internal matter. Not proper for me to say anything.' Banerjee said while the date of swearing in will be decided later, the TMC will celebrate Rabindra Jayanti on May 9 to thank the people.

Asked about possibilities of a lockdown, she said 'Not talking about it immediately. Let me first talk to my officers. There are some notifications'. PTI SUS KK KK KK