People sent from other states to foment trouble in Bengal before polls outsiders: Mamata

·4-min read

(Eds: Recasting intro, more quotes) Bishnupur/Onda/Bankura, Mar 24 (PTI) With 'insider- outsider' narrative dominating polls in Bengal, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee Wednesday said her party consider only those 'pan masala-chewing,tilak-sporting' people sent from states like Uttar Pradesh 'to foment trouble' before elections in West Bengal as outsider goons.

Those who originally hailed from other parts of India but have been living in the state for ages can't be called outsiders, she said.

The TMC has been describing the BJP as 'a party of outsiders' as a strategy in the West Bengal assembly election.

'Why should we label those living here for ages as outsiders? They are an integral part of our state,' Banerjee, also the chief minister of West Bengal, told election rallies held in Bankura district.

'We consider only those pan masala-chewing, tilak- sporting people sent from states like Uttar Pradesh to foment trouble in West Bengal before elections as outsider goons.

'We will continue to call them as such,' she said.

Banerjee asked women living in rural areas to be wary of 'outsider goons' and chase them away with brooms and kitchen utensils if they lay siege to village roads.

The saffron party has severely criticised Banerjee for calling their leaders coming to Bengal from other states as outsiders.

Addressing an election rally in Kanthi in the Purba Medinipur district during the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Bengal was the land of icons like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose and on this land, no Indian was an outsider.

Bengal brought together the people of India through Vande Mataram, and on that land, Mamata-didi is talking about 'bohiragoto' (outsider). No Indian is an outsider here, they are the children of Bharat Mata,' Modi said.

Lashing out at Modi, Banerjee said, 'I have great respect for the PM's chair, but I am sorry to say that Modi is a big liar.' 'What happened to Modi's promise of crediting Rs 15 lakh to everyone's bank accounts? Why should an LPG cylinder cost Rs 900? Why is kerosene scarce? What is the fate of the Ujjwala scheme?' she said at a rally in Bishnupur.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme,LPG connections are provided to BPL people at a concessional rate.

However, questions are being raised about its utility as the price of cooking gas cylinders has been increased manifold in recent times.

'Why are Modi and (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah silent even as farmers are agitating out in the open for months? Why are iron nails being laid out at the farmers' protest site? Is Modi concerned only about a large industrial group and not agriculturists?' the TMC boss said.

Claiming that the Centre's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' scheme for ensuring survival and education of the girl child has been a non-starter, Banerjee said, 'I deliver what I promise but Modi fails to keep his promises.' To back her claim, she named several schemes that the state government has implemented.

On the BJPs promise of implementing the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations for state government employees if voted to power in West Bengal, Banerjee said, 'First answer why the PSUs are being closed down and at whose behest? You are rendering lakhs of people unemployed. People don't trust you.' Around 10,000 government teachers had lost their employment in Tripura and the BJP had promised before the assembly election there to give their jobs back, she said adding that the party did not fulfil the promise after coming to power.

Banerjee alleged that the centre and not the Election Commission is deploying police forces for the polls and police personnel are coming to West Bengal from BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.

'Why should be police forces in poll-bound states be under them (BJP)?' she said at a poll meeting in Onda.

Banerjee asked voters, 'particularly the minorities', to be aware of the alleged plot of the CPI(M) and the Congress to cut into votes and help the saffron party, if they 'do not want riots, tyranny and oppression of the BJP and dictatorship which takes away rights of people'.

The CPI(M)-headed Left Front and the Congress have joined hands with the newly-formed Indian Secular Front floated by Abbas Siddiqui, an influential Muslim cleric of Hooghly district's Furfura Sharif, to forge an alliance.

At another meeting in Bankura town, the CM asked voters to be on guard against any offer for cash for casting votes.

'If some outsiders offer you Rs 500 or Rs 1000 in exchange for votes, don't be tempted. I won't advise you what to do with the cash but don't vote for them. It is ill-gotten money,' the feisty Bengal leader said.

Banerjee alleged that unaccounted notes found during demonetisation and money from the PM Care fund and that received during the sale of PSUs are being used to lure voters. PTI SUS ACD NN SNS SNS