Modi Designed Poll Schedule As Per His Convenience: Mamata

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Kolkata: Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of planning the election schedule for his convenience, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here on Tuesday questioned the logic behind the seven-phased elections for 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

Banerjee alleged, “Modi babu planned it (the election schedule) in a manner that he can go to every state as per his convenience.”

“We have seen the BJP’s vendetta. In Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, there is just one day of polling. Some other states will go to polls for two days.

“But my state will keep voting for two months. What is the logic behind such polling schedules? Elections spread over two months in West Bengal would mean all development projects stalled for that long,” Banerjee said. “And what will be the weather by the time the elections end on May 19?” she said.

She also reiterated her earlier accusation that the Modi government was planning another strike (like the air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot) and indicated the long-drawn Lok Sabha poll process was intended to facilitate this.

The TMC President said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government failed to bring back black money, over two crore jobs were destroyed in the year after demonetisation and over 12,000 farmers committed suicide.

Banerjee was talking to reporters after releasing the list of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidates for elections.

The upcoming Lok Sabha elections, she said were a fight between “united India and some isolated people, who are pursuing the politics of hatred”. “We must make sure that Modi goes out of power. United India will work together the way people desire,” she said.

On her plans for a coalition government of the anti-BJP parties, Banerjee said, “The new government’s first task will be to create jobs for the unemployed youths and to restore peace and unity of the country as well as the morale of soldiers.”

“We have to solve the problems, some burning issues like Kashmir. I want peace for the state,” she said.

According to Banerjee, national security, job creation, empowerment of women, dalits, tribals, farmers and labourers will be part of the coalition government’s agenda, which will be decided by all the parties in the Opposition alliance.

“We have to take care of the entire society. People belonging to all castes and religions will be taken care of,” she said.

Banerjee also extended her support to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, who have stitched an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, and indicated she would soon visit Varanasi, Modi’s constituency.

Although the Congress and the Left parties are forming an alliance to contest against the TMC in West Bengal, Banerjee said she would have no problem in maintaining her ties with the Congress and the other parties at the national level.

On Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s allegations that the TMC was only raising apprehensions over elections being held during the month of Ramadan while many Hindu festivals were also coinciding with polls, she said, “I am not bound to answer this.

“He raised a communal question. He wants a communal answer. As the country’s Finance Minister, he should not do that. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, we all are together.”