Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that West Bengal was “under a strong wave of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)” and asserted that his party would win more than 200 of the 294 seats in West Bengal.
Mr. Modi, who addressed two public meetings in West Bengal, one at Joynagar and other at Uluberia, said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had become afraid of losing the polls and that was the reason why she had sought help from other parties. He was referring to Ms. Banerjee’s letter to 14 leaders of Opposition parties in which she urged them to unite against the BJP.
Addressing a public meeting at Joynagar, Mr. Modi made a strong pitch based on Hindutva, saying that the Trinamool Congress had “problems with people wearing saffron, sporting tilak and choti (tuft of hair); they call them rakshas (demons)”. Mr. Modi added that he was “not among those who showed their reverence by going to temples seasonally”.
Referring to the Chief Minister’s remarks that goons from other States were trying to influence voters in West Bengal, the PM said, “You have taken the oath of the Constitution which doesn’t permit you to speak against other States or people of other States.”
On the day Nandigram went to polls, the Prime Minister fuelled speculation that Ms. Banerjee may contest the Assembly polls from some other seat. The Chief Minister is contesting from Nandigram, where her rival is BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari.
“Please tell me, how far are these rumours true that you are filing nomination from any other seat? Is this true? You went there [Nandigram] and people gave you the message. Even if you go anywhere else, people are ready there also,” Mr. Modi said.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership quickly refuted the speculation and insisted that Ms. Banerjee would be contesting from Nandigram alone. Senior TMC leader and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha said that the Prime Minister was trying to influence voters in Nandigram by making such comments.
“The election campaign is stopped 36 hours before polling. But in other places, people can campaign. Because of technological advancement, the campaign does not really end. The Prime Minister was trying to influence voters when polling was on in Nandigram,” Mr. Sinha said. The senior TMC leader said that Mr. Modi should refrain from such comments as it did not suit the stature of a Prime Minister.