Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had “converted election in the country into a dirty game”. She was speaking at a “virtual rally” of her party’s Martyrs’ Day programme.

The annual event of the Trinamool Congress – that brings lakhs of people from across the state to Kolkata – could not be held at Esplanade this year due to the COVID-19 situation. “They (the BJP) are trying to dissolve all [non-BJP ruled] state governments so that no other political party can exist in the country,” she said.

Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Banerjee said that “the duo” is trying to create a situation of “one nation-one political party” in the country.

In Bengal, the BJP is “using agencies (Central government agencies) and some former cadres of the CPI-M to wrest power here”. “They are hatching a conspiracy with some cadres to create unrest here, and they are sitting on main thoroughfares in the name of protest”, she said. She warned that with the Assembly elections knocking at the door it is possible that artistes, politicians would be called up and huge sums of money get deposited in their accounts in exchange of support. “They are using money to purchase people and votes, but be warned that it will pave the way for what is happening in other states and people’s voices are going to be gagged eventually,” she warned.

The Trinamool Congress chief further warned that “no outsider” could come into power in West Bengal. “Only those who are from Bengal, will run the government here,” she said, adding that outsiders were trying to create unrest here. “They are creating riots and talking about encounters every day and trying to divide people,” she said. Banerjee spoke about the recent riots in Delhi and “encounters in Uttar Pradesh” and “people’s fear” in BJP-ruled states about protesting. “What is happening in Uttar Pradesh?” she asked, adding that one could be murdered for wanting to lodge a complaint, and even police personnel are being killed.

“Why not plan development instead?” she asked without naming Modi and Shah, and added that the Centre is taking advantage of the country’s pandemic situation and changing laws in the country without discussing the matters with opposition political parties. She highlighted the way government-run organisations were being increasingly privatised, including Indian Railways among others.

The Martyrs’ Day meeting is marked by Trinamool Congress chief’s pep talk to her party workers and Tuesday’s meeting was no exception as Banerjee called out her party workers to start planning for next year’s meeting on July 21. By then, the Assembly election of 2021 would have been over and the results would indicate who would form the next government in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee asked her party workers to prepare to celebrate her party forming the next government.

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