Mamata accuses Modi of spreading lies, exchanges between Trinamool and BJP intensify

Published : February 09, 2021 21:39 IST

Mamata at her rally in Bardaman, where Humayun Kabir (in dark glasses), former Police Commissoner of Chandannagar, joined the Trinamool Congress. Photo: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

As the Assembly election in West Bengal draws near, barbs and allegations are flying wild between the two main contestants – the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. At a rally in Murshidabad district on February 9, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of spreading lies and warned the people of the State that the BJP was trying to buy their votes. Two days earlier, Modi had accused the State government of rampant corruption even during the time of the Amphan cyclone.

“Have you ever heard of Prime Ministers lying? ...the Prime Minister has been saying that government workers [in West Bengal] are not getting their salaries. What kind of nonsense is this? Which government worker has not received her salary, show us Modi babu. And you are selling VSNL, selling SAIL, privatising the railways, selling coal, selling LIC. In the coming days people will not be getting their own money from the banks, from the insurance,” said Mamata. She accused the Centre of “imprisoning” the people of the country and said in the coming election the people would pay them back in their own coin. “Once they did notebandi (demonetisation) and then they did COVID gharbandi (lockdown). They imprisoned everybody inside their houses. Now in the court of the people they will be imprisoned by the masses with each and every vote,” said Mamata.

Warning the people that the BJP would try and buy their votes, the Chief Minister said, “Take their money. Spend it all up. Spend it on good food and in the election vote against them.” In an earlier rally in Bardhaman on the same day, Mamata reiterated her stand against the controversial farm Acts, saying that until they were withdrawn, she would continue to extend her support to the agitating farmers. “See what is happening to Modi babu’s farmers in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh. Barbed wires and nails are being used to keep people out. Those three black laws will loot everything from the farmers…. You [the farmers] will produce the crops and they will sell it to the Adanis. They have built huge godowns just like fortresses during the time of war to loot and impoverish the farmers,” she said.

Countering the BJP’s oft repeated allegation that the Mamata Banerjee government was denying the farmers of Bengal the benefits extended by the Centre, she said, addressing the crowd, “Do you not get Rs.5,000 (from the State government)? Do you not get Rs.2 lakh when a farmer dies? Agricultural land is exempt from mutation fees.”

Top cop joins Trinamool

An interesting development at Mamata’s Bardhaman rally was high profile IPS (Indian Police Service) officer Humayun Kabir, who had resigned from the service in January, officially joining the Trinamool Congress. Kabir, who was the Police Commissioner of Chandannagar at the time of his resignation, was due to retire in April. "Mamata Banerjee has brought development to Bengal. I have worked under her and I have seen her stand by people. I have been inspired by her. The BJP is trying to win here by spreading division. Then people of Bengal will answer them. Mamata Banerjee will return to power,” Kabir said at the rally.

Meanwhile, BJP president J.P. Nadda, on his second visit to Bengal this month, raised a new anti-government slogan at a rally in Birbhum district: “Anek hoyechhey Mamata. Parivartan chaichhey janata” (Enough of Mamata. The People want a change). Taking a swipe at the Chief Minister, Nadda said Mamata got upset every time the Prime Minister came to the State. “The Prime Minister does not come emptyhanded; he brings projects to the State. You were also a Central Minister once, how many projects did you bring to the State?” said Nadda.