PM Modi alleges Trinamool Congress is ‘pressuring Election Commission to thwart polling process’

Addressing a meeting at Asansol, he said the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was trying all means to ‘subvert and stop the elections’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Trinamool Congress of putting pressure on the Election Commission of India (ECI) to “thwart the polling process”.

Addressing a public meeting at Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman, he said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was trying all means to “subvert and stop the elections”.

“This time Didi (Ms. Banerjee) and her party is not being allowed to resort to rigging during the election. This is the reason why she is trying all means to subvert and stop the elections,” the Prime Minister said.

His remarks come at a time when the Trinamool Congress has urged the ECI to merge the remaining three phases of polls in West Bengal due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Polling for fifth phase of Assembly election in the State was under way on Saturday.

During his address, Mr. Modi raised the issue of the 2018 panchayat election in the State and said that people had not forgotten how the democratic rights of the people were subverted during the local elections. “In 20,000 seats, which is almost one third of the total seats TMC candidates won without a contest. Those from the Opposition who had filed nomination had to take shelter in other States. Nomination papers had to be submitted over the internet on Whatsapp,” he said.

The Prime Minister also referred to the communal riots in Asansol three years on the occasion of Ram Navami celebrations and blamed the Chief Minister for the violence. “Who stood with rioters, who was indulging in politics of appeasement,” Mr. Modi asked the gathering.

On the issue of deaths at Sitalkuchi in the previous phase of polling, the Prime Minister said that the Chief Minister was “indulging in politics over deaths”. On Friday, the BJP leadership had released audiotapes of a conversation between Ms. Banerjee and TMC candidate after the Central armed forces opened fire resulting in death of four persons at Jor Patki gram panchayat in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district. The Trinamool Congress leadership said that there was nothing wrong in the conversation and raised question on the tapping of telephones of leaders of the Trinamool Congress.

Mr. Modi, who promised the farmers ₹18,000 to every farmer as pending benefits of PM-Kisan grants for the past three years, alleged that Ms. Banerjee had stood as a wall between West Bengal’s people and Central welfare schemes.

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