Mamata Banerjee alleges EC cleared BJP’s demand for 8-phase-poll in Bengal; accuses BJP of sending money through agencies

Trinamool chief's sensational allegations after announcement of election dates

West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday reacted sharply at the Election Commission’s announcement of an eight-phase Assembly elections for the state, scheduled from March 27 to April 29, 2021.

“Elections in Bihar – where there are 240 seats – was held in three phases last year, Assam is having three-phase election this time, even Tamil Nadu which has 234 seats and the CPI-M government in Kerala that has 140 seats will have election on a single day. But West Bengal will have election in eight phases, for whose benefit has it been arranged this way?” Banerjee asked. “Can’t the Election Commission be a bit rational?” she asked.

Banerjee alleged that she has learnt from “Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sources” that the list released by the EC has been “as per the BJP’s requisition”. “It is according to what they [the BJP] wanted… I have seen the list that is in their party office, and it is the same list [as released by the EC],” she said. She said that the “deep disrespect shown to the people of West Bengal” will be given a “fitting reply”.

She said that elections had been scheduled in such a way that one district would vote in more than one phase. “In South 24 Parganas – where we are strong, elections have been scheduled in three phases,” she said, adding that for practical purposes such as moving of Central forces from one place to another, this would have been considered inconvenient. “I welcome your decision, we respect your constitutional position, but why has it been scheduled this way?” she asked, adding whether this had been done on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Banerjee said that “despite the eight-phase election”, “we will defeat you completely” and “defeat all conspiracy”.

She also questioned the appointment of Vivek Dubey, who has been deployed in the state as special police observer. “The same person was appointed in the last Lok Sabha elections of 2019, and we know about all the drama he has done here, we know of all the games…,” she said.

Banerjee also alleged that the BJP has “agency power” and the power of the “Central government”, but one “Central government cannot misuse their power for a state election”.

The Trinamool Congress chief further alleged that the EC should ensure there is no “misuse of money”. “The BJP has already sent money to all the districts through agencies. Also, the Home Minister can work for the country, but he cannot misuse this position for the election in West Bengal. Neither can the Prime Minister misuse his position as part of the BJP for election in the state,” Banerjee said.

She asked why they had all come together – to fight against the only woman chief minister in the country. “Bring all your leaders. Why are you so scared of me? Why have all the organisations come together to fight me?” Banerjee asked. She called upon all the women in the state to “be prepared to give a fitting reply”, adding that not just in 2021, this will also pave the way for victory even in 2024.