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2019 election result not history, but a mystery: Mamata Banerjee attacks BJP at rally

By Simran Kashyap
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Kolkata, July 21: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kicked off her mega Martyrs' Day rally in Kolkata today where she is expected to launch the poll campaign for the state elections, which are likely to be held in 2021.

She paid tributes to all the "martyrs" in 34 years of Left rule in the state, and urged people to fight for restoration of democracy in the country.

2019 election result not history, but a mystery: Mamata Banerjee attacks BJP at rally

Addressing the Martyrs' Day rally, the Trinamool chief said,''In Lok Sabha elections they won by cheating- by using EVMs, CRPF and Central Police & Election Commission They just got 18 seats, by getting few seats they are trying to capture our party offices and beating our people.''

Mamata Banerjee to hold Martyr's Day mega rally in Kolkata, accuses BJP of foulplay

''I will request the Election Commission to conduct Panchayat and Municipal elections through ballot paper,'' she added.

She accused the saffron party of luring TMC MLAs with money and other perks. The chief minister, speaking at her first major political rally after the Lok Sabha polls, also said the party will launch a statewide protest on July 26, demanding return of black money "siphoned off" by the BJP.

"Central agencies are threatening our leaders and elected representatives over chit fund scams, asking them to get in touch with the BJP leaders or face prison," Banerjee said.

"The BJP is offering Rs 2 crore and a petrol pump to our MLAs to switch over... Just like in Karnataka, the BJP is indulging in horse trading everywhere. It is trying to replicate this model here, too," she alleged.

Hitting out at the central government for allegedly trying to destroy the federal structure of the country, she claimed the BJP is functioning in a whimsical manner and its government would not last for "more than two years". "They (the BJP) are bringing bills and passing it without any prior information or consultation... Credit for the smooth conduct of Parliament goes to opposition parties, not those in power," the TMC chief added.

In the national elections, the Trinamool Congress, which won 22 seats, lost 12 seats while the BJP gained 16 seats compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

It should be noted, after the national elections, she roped in poll strategist Prashant Kishor to get the Trinamool Congress ready for the state elections.

Earlier, Banerjee also accused the BJP of trying to "foil" the mega rally by operating only 30 per cent of the trains usually run on Sundays.

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 being 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.

Following this, TMC leader and minister Chandrima Bhattacharya lodged an FIR against Ghosh.

The Kolkata Police has taken all measures to keep the city moving, expecting huge turnout at Sunday's rally.

Around 5,000 policemen were deployed to look after security at the rally and maintain normality.

Besides, personnel of Kolkata Police Quick Response Teams and Rapid Action Force were present, a senior officer said adding that drones and snipers will also be used to check any untoward incident.

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