Mamata's fulminations against CAPF betrays frustration: Shah

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(Eds: Adds details) Kolkata, Apr 9 (PTI) Coming down hard on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Friday her fulminations against central forces betrayed frustration over 'impending defeat' in the Assembly elections and wondered whether she is pushing the state towards anarchy.

He exuded confidence that the BJP will win anywhere between 63 and 68 seats where polling has been held in the first three phases. Polling is over in 91 of the state's 294 assembly constituencies in the three phases.

'The frustration of the TMC overe impending defeat is very much evident from her action and speeches. I Have never seen a chief minister or the president of a political party use the kind of words Mamata Banerjee is using against central forces. Is she trying to create anarchy? Does she want disturbance? Or does she want to win the election through rigging like before? 'She should know that central forces do not function under the home ministry during elections. They function under the jurisdiction of the Election Commission,' he told a press conference.

Shah was responding to the TMC supremo's claim of CAPF personnel harassing and intimidating electors and asking them to vote for the BJP at the behest of Shah and the home ministry.

The Election Commission had Thursday night issued a notice to Mamata Banerjee for her 'completely false, provocative and intemperate statements' against central forces performing election duty in West Bengal, provoking a defiant TMC boss to declare she will continue doing so until 'the CRPF stops working for BJP'.

'I am astonished to see how political interests change the priority of individuals. Earlier she used to say she wants more central forces to be deployed. Now she is against the presence of central forces as her party cannot rig elections due to tight security. She is asking people to gherao central forces,' he said.

Shah praised the EC for conducting comparatively more peaceful elections than previous assembly, Lok Sabha and panchayat polls in the state.

'Violence in the first three phases has been comparatively less in Bengal than the last three elections for the assembly, panchayats and the Lok Sabha. I want to congratulate EC on it. But there have been incidents. So, it has to be ensured that there is no violence,' he said.

Shah said Banerjee's appeal to the minority community against division of their votes shows minority voters were drifting away from the TMC.

'The way Didi has appealed to minority voters to come together and vote for the TMC betrays the fact that her minority vote bank is also slowly slipping away. This is unprecedented,' he said.

People of Bengal are peeved about Mamata Banerjee's failure to check infiltration, her protest against the CAA and appeasement politics, Shah said.

'The TMC government has opposed CAA and passed a resolution. The BJP, after coming to power, will undo it. I want to assure all refugees they will get citizenship under CAA,' the home minister said.

Unveiling a development roadmap for Bengal and Kolkata, Shah said Rs 22,000 crore will be spent under Kolkata Development Fund for improvement of infrastructure.

'Our Sonar Bangla campaign will begin from Kolkata.

Kolkata will remain the 'City of Joy', and we will also work to transform it into the 'City of Future',' he said.

Shah claimed the BJP got 'unprecedented' support from the people of West Bengal in the first three phases as a result of which the party will win anywhere between 63 and 68 of the 91 seats where polling has been held.

Speaking about the surge in coronavirus cases and apprehension that the ongoing election campaign could aggravate the situation, Shah urged everyone to maintain COVID-19 protocols.

'The decision to hold elections is taken by the Election Commission after seeking views of all political parties. There is no clear provision on what can be done if the tenure of an assembly or parliament gets over. So, you need to conduct elections.

'I think every political party is maintaining COVID protocols and those who are coming to these campaign rallies are doing it too,' he said.

Shah dismissed claims by several states about vaccine shortages and insisted they are getting adequate supplies. PTI PNT SK SK