With 2019 Lok Sabha Elections just seven days away, political parties have intensified their poll campaigns across India. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is drumming support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday addressed a public gathering at West Bengal's Cooch Behar, about 142 km from Siliguri. Earlier, the chief minister tweaked her campaign schedule so she could have the last word in the verbal war against Modi.
In a veiled attack at Modi over his "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign, the Trinamool Congress president said, "Chaiwallah, who failed to fulfil promises, has now turned into a chowkidar to fool masses and will change the country from a democracy to a totalitarian regime if returned to power in 2019.
Claiming that it was the TMC government which solved the six-decade-old enclave issue with Bangladesh in 2015, Banerjee said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was an attempt by the BJP to turn legal citizens of the country into refugees. Modi has three slogans "loot", "riots" and "kill the people", she reiterated.
In an apparent reference to PM Narendra Modi, the biopic, Banerjee asked "Why will people watch your film? If people want to watch films, they will watch films on Gandhi Ji, Ambedkar Ji, why Modi? What contribution he has made to India?"
On implementing National Register of Citizens (NRC) in West Bengal, the chief minister said the Trinamool Congress will never allow NRC in the state and Modi is no one to decide who will stay and who will leave the place.
The implementation of the NRC in Bengal is a key poll plank for the Saffron party, owing to their political strategy that hinges on the emphasis on illegal border infiltration and post-partition rights, the issues, that the party hopes, will be key in nine seats along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Speaking at a public rally in Siliguri, Modi earlier insisted that the National Register of Citizen (NRC) would not hurt the electorally important Gorkha community in north Bengal.Â "I want to assure all Gorkha brothers and sisters from this stage that none of you will be inconvenienced because of the NRC," the prime minister was quoted as saying.
Banerjee, however, has been one of the fiercest critics of the NRC, saying that it is an exercise aimed at dividing the communities, which specifically targets Bengalis. Reacting to the BJPâ€™s claim that they would conduct an NRC in Bengal if voted to power, the Bengal CM at a rally in Dinhata on Wednesday said that the BJP should first aim at winning a seat in Bengal.
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) swept the state by bagging 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats. While the Congress managed to get 4 parliamentary seats, the BJP gave its best-ever performance by reaching to 2 seats, from 1 in 2009. BJP ministers Babul Supriyo and SS Ahluwalia bagged the Asansol and Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituencies with over 4 lakh votes in 2014.
GeneralÂ Elections 2019 in West Bengal will take place in seven phases on April 11, 18, 23, 29, May 6, 12 and 19. The counting of votes for all phases will take place on May 23.