West Bengal Assembly polls | Don’t vote for Left and Congress, Mamata tells “Marxist friends”

It is an admission by Chief Minister that she is a “friend of the Maoists”, says CPI(M)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday courted a controversy by asking “Marxist friends” not to vote for either the CPI(M) or the Congress. The Chief Minister, who addressed three public meetings in Paschim Medinipur district, accused both parties of being in hand in glove with the BJP. “Only Trinamool Congress will fight against the BJP,” she said.

Ms. Banerjee remarks drew a lot of flak from the political parties in the Opposition, particularly the CPI(M). Sujan Chakraborty, CPI(M) leader, said it is an admission by the Chief Minister that she is a “friend of the Maoists” and had used them for “targeted killings of CPI(M) supporters”. The districts in south western Bengal also referred to Jangalmahal were under the grip of left-wing extremism from 2008-11.

The Chief Minister also raised the issue of unearthing of skeletons in Paschim Medinipur in 2011. CPI(M) leader Sushanta Ghosh, who is contesting polls in Garbeta, was an accused in the case and had spent more than seven years in prison.

A party of rioters

Ms. Banerjee called the BJP a party of rioters and said she does not want politics of violence to return to the State. The Chief Minister referred to the violence under the Left regime and claimed that there was peace in the past 10 years of the Trinamool Congress government.

Her government will never allow the National Population Register in West Bengal, she said as it is an attempt to delete names from the voters’ list. “The BJP government at the Centre, in the garb of implementing NPR, will delete names of voters; that will not be allowed in Bengal,” she said.

Accusing the BJP leadership of using money to buy votes, Ms. Banerjee said that during elections leaders come with bagfuls of cash but they are nowhere to be seen when there is a crisis. Raising her poll slogan Khela Hobe (Game will be played), Ms. Banerjee urged the people to ensure that BJP is “ clean bowled”.

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