Stung by the BJP's gains in her longheld citadel, Mamata Banerjee has been going lengths to ensure that her voter base does not suffer any damage in the midst of a saffron surge in West Bengal.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday warned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of annihilation if it continues to mess with her. Addressing a gathering on the occasion of Eid in Kolkata, Mamata alleged that the BJP captured EVMs in the Lok Sabha elections to score high and assured Muslims that she will provide them a safe and secure environment to live in her state.
“Jo humse takraega wo choor choor ho jaega. Ye hamara slogan hai. (Whoever messes with us will be destroyed. This is our slogan),” she said. Attributing the BJP’s gain in West Bengal to manipulation of EVMs by the party, she said, “There is nothing to be scared. Sometimes when the sun rises, its rays are very harsh but later it fades away. Don’t be scared, the faster they captured EVMs, the quicker they will go away.”
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Promising a safe and secure environment for Muslims in West Bengal, she said, “Tyaag ka naam hai Hindu, Imaan ka naam hai Musalman, Pyaar ka naam hai Isaai, Sikhon ka naam hai Balidan. Ye hai hamara pyaara Hindustan. Iski raksha humlog karenge. (Hindus stand for renunciation, Muslims for integrity, Christians for love and Sikhs for sacrifice. This is our beloved Hindustan and we will protect it).”
Stung by the BJP’s gains in her longheld citadel, Mamata Banerjee has been going lengths to ensure that her voter base does not suffer any damage in the midst of a saffron surge in the state. Clashes between workers of the TMC and the BJP have escalated ever since the declaration of Lok Sabha election results. While BJP has been accusing the TMC of practicing appeasement politics, ignoring Hindus and killing its workers, the TMC chief has alleged that the BJP was dividing the people on religious lines. According to BJP’s claim, over 50 of its workers in West Bengal have lost their lives in the last few months in incidents of political violence allegedly orchestrated by the TMC. However, Mamata has categorically rejected the charge.
The BJP won 18 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, 16 more than it had pocketed in 2014. The TMC won 22 seats, 12 less than its 2014 tally. The BJP has now set its sights on the civic body polls next year and the Assembly elections in the state in 2021. With a surge in the number of seats (2 to 18) since 2014 and a steep increase in its vote share (17% to 43%) for the BJP, the path ahead for Mamata is not going to be easy. Comments such as these are celarly aimed to consolidate its biggest vote bank in a state where elections are set to get increasingly polarised on religious lines.