Banerjee said it was “taqdeer ka khel [fate]” that she has to get elected from Bhabanipur to become the chief minister.
In her first public meeting for the Bhabanipur Assembly by-poll on Wednesday, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson Mamata Banerjee urged people not to take her electoral victory for granted, and asked them to vote to ensure that she remains the chief minister of West Bengal.
Banerjee said it was “taqdeer ka khel [the irony of fate]” that she has to get elected from Bhabanipur to become the chief minister of the state. Following her defeat in Assembly polls from Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district earlier this year, the chief minister is contesting from Bhabanipur to retain her post.
“Yeh maat sochna ke Didi toh aysehi jeet jayega toh jane ka zaroorat nahi hain. [Don’t think that Didi’s victory is secured and there is no point going out to vote for her]. Please don’t do that. I will be in trouble if I don’t get each of your votes. You will not get me as the chief minister if I don’t get each of your votes. So each of your votes is very important for me. If I fail to become the chief minister then someone else [from my party] will become the chief minister. I am telling you this to make you understand why each of your votes is important,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in the Ekbalpur area.
Asserting that she unfairly lost from Nandigram, Banerjee said, “In 2021, my party had requested me to contest from Nandigram to support the farmers’ movement. But you will be scared to know how unfairly I was defeated from there. A case is pending at the court [on counting of votes]. But it is destiny and taqdeer ka khel that Mamata Banerjee should become the chief minister from Bhabanipur.”
When TMC came to power in Bengal in 2011, Banerjee became the chief minister despite not contesting the election. In a by-poll later that year, she won the election from Bhabanipur. She finds herself in a similar situation again.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the TMC chief said, “Narendra Modi ji and Amit Shah bhaiya ji, don’t think that you will turn India into a Taliban state and hurl abuses to the people. India will remain India. Ideals of Gandhi ji, Netaji, Abul Kalam Azad, APJ Abdul Kalam, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, and others will remain here. I will not let anyone divide the country and I will also not let anyone divide West Bengal. I will also not let anyone divide the people.”
Banerjee also took a dig at Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri, who campaigned for BJP candidate Priyanka Tibrewal in Bhabanipur on Wednesday.
“Today, I heard that the petroleum and natural gas minister has come to Bhabanipur today to seek votes for the BJP. He is free to hold meetings and I welcome him. But I want to ask him when will prices of petrol, diesel and LPG come down? People should tell him first you reduce the price of fuel before asking for votes,” said Banerjee.
Later in the day, the chief minister addressed another public meeting in the Chetla area of the constituency.
Shifting her focus to Tripura, Banerjee said prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC had been imposed in the district of West Tripura till November 4 to prevent her nephew and party MP Abhishek Banerjee from holding rallies. The chief minister went on to ask if Section 144 would be in force in the state during Durga Puja, which begins on October 12.
“The BJP party has become a jumla party. They have imposed Section 144 in Tripura till November 4 to stop Abhishek from holding rallies. But I want to ask whether this will be applicable during Durga Puja there? The BJP says that Mamata didi does not let Durga Puja take place in Bengal. If that is the case then why Section 144 has been imposed during Durga Puja? Are they showing Section 144 to goddess Durga? How will people take part in her puja?” Banerjee wondered, adding, “Charity begins at home.”
She alleged that the BJP would try to create trouble and get the election cancelled, and cautioned the people of Bhabanipur not to fall for any kind of instigation by the Opposition party.
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