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Published On: Sun, Jul 21st, 2019

Mamata Banerjee accuses BJP of EVM tampering

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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses during the annual Martyr's Day rally, in Kolkata on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Every year All India Trinamool Congress partys hold the Martyrs Day rally 21 in Kolkata, to pay homage to 13 Youth Congress workers who allegedly killed in police firing 1993 during Left Front Government regime. (PTI Photo)(PTI7_21_2018_000148B)

KOLKATA : The Bengal Chief Minister termed the BJP’s Lok Sabha win as a ‘mystery’ and alleged that manipulation of EVMs, pressing in of central forces and doling out of cash were the means by which BJP was able to win seats not on in Bengal but throughout the country.
Chief Mamata Banerjee Sunday launched a scathing attack on the BJP alleging that the ruling party at the Centre is indulging in horse-trading throughout the country.
While speaking at the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata’s Dharmatala, Banerjee said, “They (BJP) are indulging in horse-trading everywhere. They are trying to break (governments) in Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states. If you go on indulging yourself in such activities, one day your back will break and you will never be able to rise up again,” she said.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP-led Central government of trying to foil her party’s ‘Martyrs Day’ rally on Sunday by operating only 30 per cent of the trains usually run on other Sundays.
The TMC also filed an FIR against BJP state president Dilip Ghosh for allegedly threatening to drag TMC leaders out of buses on their way to the rally, if they failed to return the “cut money” they had collected from people.
Martyrs Day is observed annually by TMC on July 21 to commemorate the killings of 13 people in police firing in 1993, when Banerjee, then a Youth Congress leader, had launched a march to the secretariat, demanding that voters’ card be made the only document to allow people to exercise their franchise. The Left Front was in power in the state at that time.
The TMC supremo usually announces future programmes of her party in this rally and speculations are rife that this time her address would be focused on assembly elections due in the state in 2021.

The rally is held in the backdrop of BJP’s impressive performance in the Lok Sabha polls in which the party won 18 of the 42 seats in the state, only four less than the ruling TMC.
BJP state president and MP Dilip Ghosh directed party workers to not allow TMC leaders to leave for Kolkata to participate in the rally if they did not return the “cut money” they had collected from people.
“We will not allow any of the TMC leaders to leave for tomorrow’s rally if they do not return the cut money they had taken from people. We will drag them out of the buses,” said Ghosh, also an MP.

But for a party that lost 12 seats in Parliament two months ago, the turnout must have been a relief. It did not look disappointing, at least from the mega rally stage. Mamata Banerjee raised clever slogans. Cut money is small change. BJP must return big buck black money, she said.
“Where is the black money BJP promised to return? Where did the BJP get the black money to fight elections like as lavishly as it did? Return the black money,” she said. Her other big slogan, throw away the EVM and return to the ballot. “This election was a mystery… not history,” she said about BJP’s substantial victory.

If the Chief Minister’s speech was punchy, the mood at the BJP office was upbeat too. BJP chief Dilip Ghosh called the rally a flop show. “When there is a big rally here, the mood becomes different. There was nothing this time. It was a flop show. Lot of thunder but no rain,” he said, adding,
“The TMC leaders waited at rail stations to greet people from the districts. Nobody came. They made so much egg curry that the few people who showed up, were given four eggs each.
” With 18 MPs, BJP can gloat a little. But Mamata Magic is still real for many.
“If the BJP thinks they will form government in Bengal in 2021, they are day dreaming. Didi will be CM for the third time,” said Bhabesh Das, a young supporter, who came from Bantala for the rally.”(With Inputs from Kolkata Bureau ).
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