Mamata Says Cooch Behar Tragedy a Conspiracy by BJP to Scare Voters, Calls it ‘Murder of Democracy’
Urging people not to vote for “trigger-happy BJP”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday claimed that the tragedy in Cooch Behar was the “result of a conspiracy” hatched by the saffron party to intimidate voters. Amid polling for the fourth phase of elections on Saturday, four persons died in Sitalkuchi area of Cooch Behar when CISF personnel opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals, who “attempted to snatch their rifles”, the police had said.
The TMC supremo, who addressed three rallies in Jalpaiguri district during the day, also stated that BJP leaders, who have come out in support of the central forces, should sit back and reflect if they would have had the same stance if someone in their families met with a similar fate. “I have video footage that shows some BJP leaders are speaking in favour of the central forces after the firing incident. You (BJP leaders) don’t feel sad if sons die in other families. What if it had happened to someone in your family,” Banerjee said in Rajganj.
Hitting out at the accused CISF personnel, she said, “If you think someone is causing nuisance, speak to him, you also have lathis. How can you suddenly point your gun at the torso and neck of voters?” Describing the incident as “murder of democracy”, Banerjee pointed out that the EC has stopped her and other politicians from visiting Sitalkuchi for 72 hours at the “behest of the BJP”. “You can stop me from visit Sitalkuchi or for that matter any other place, but I will find a way out to be on the side of the distressed people.” She asserted that “for every bullet, reply will be given in votes”.
“Come out in larger numbers to cast your vote, exercise your democratic rights to defeat the trigger-happy BJP. The Cooch Behar incident was a result of a conspiracy hatched by the saffron camp,” the chief minister said during her address in Nagrakota. Accusing the BJP of failing to deliver on its promise to re-open tea gardens that had to shut shop due to paucity of funds, Banerjee said the saffron party has always deceived common people.
“In sharp contrast, the TMC dispensation has undertaken many development projects in Jalpaiguri to boost its agriculture and tourism sectors. It has built a stadium in the district, and ensured that the social welfare schemes launched by the government benefits everyone in the region,” she inisited. Banerjee, who wore a black scarf to condemn the Cooch Behar incident, paid floral tribute to those killed in the firing at a makeshift memorial built next to the stage in Nagrakota.
At Chalsa, she promised ration and Rs 500 for every household and Rs 1,000 monthly allowance for the backward caste families. She further said that the TMC, if re-elected to power, will launch a state-sponsored credit card scheme for students willing to pursue higher education.