West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee kicks off campaign with swipe at ‘BJP’s use of agencies’ | Kolkata News – Times of India


KOLKATA: A combative Mamata Banerjee kicked off her Bhowanipore poll campaign on Tuesday from a closed-door Trinamool workers’ meet, attacking the BJP-led Union government for sticking to its standard script of using central agencies to browbeat political opponents every time elections were announced.
“The Enforcement Directorate has again called Abhishek Banerjee for questioning after examining him for nine hours only because they want to hurt me,” the Bengal CM said, referring to the ED’s ongoing probe into an illegal coal-mining scam. “
Now, the CBI has sent a notice to Partha da (senior state cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee),” she said, adding: “They cannot fight us politically and so use central agencies to harass us.” Pointing out that investigation of cases registered in Kolkata were on purpose being held in Delhi to hassle her party and family members, she wondered, “Doesn’t ED have an office in Kolkata?”.
Tuesday’s meeting, which took place at Ahindra Mancha, about 1.5 km from the CM’s Kalighat residence, was billed as the Trinamool’s campaign launcher. Banerjee addressed a crowd of around 200, comprising mostly senior party workers who were allowed in after showing a special pass, and said she would file her nomination papers on Friday to coincide with “the auspicious occasion of Ganesha Chaturthi”.
Banerjee, a two-time MLA from Bhowanipore, said although she was being forced to stand in the byelection because of a political conspiracy, she was happy that she could come back to her home constituency. “Probably this was destined.
I could have contested from anywhere but our senior colleagues like Subrata Bakshi, Subrata Mukherjee and Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay stressed that I must contest from this seat. Sobhanda was the first to resign from the seat. He will continue to be a minister and will contest the byelection from Khardah assembly constituency,” she said.
Referring to her loss from Nandigram by a slender margin of 1,956 votes, Banerjee said she had fought the battle with a purpose but ended up being a victim of conspiracy. “I lost the election but I have gone to court, which has admitted the case since there is merit.
The people of Nandigram had requested me to fight from there and I also have a sentimental attachment with them. But the BJP manipulated the entire machinery – changing everyone from the DM to SP to presiding officers and local police station OCs. But since the issue is still sub-judice, I won’t say anything further,” she said.
The CM, however, asked her party workers not to take her past record in Bhowanipore, where she has never lost, for granted. “Don’t sit back thinking it will be an easy election. The win in Bhowanipore will have a bearing on the 2024 vision. It will have an impact on the upcoming byelections and the upcoming civic election,” she said, adding that she wanted party functionaries to work hard to improve the seat’s polling percentage, which has always been around 40% – 42%.
Banerjee also charted out ward-wise responsibilities to senior party colleagues – Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Debasish Kumar, Partha Chatterjee and Aroop Biswas. “Covid protocols bar me from organising an election rally. There will only be small street-corner and door-to-door meetings. I may not attend these but I want party workers to take these very seriously,” she said.
The CM also urged those assigned poll duty to get fully vaccinated and adhere to Covid protocols and asked party workers not to gather when she files her nomination on Friday.


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