‘We will reply to the conspiracy through the ballot box’

Within hours of suffering a setback in the Court on the panchayat election issue, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought to turn the tables on the Opposition saying that her government was readying itself for the rural polls since September 2013, but there was conspiracy against it.

Addressing a rally in Barddhaman district (as part of her contact programmes since the Saradha fraud), she said the elections could not be held on time, due to a conspiracy hatched by the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party. “We understand law and will abide by it ... but we will not bow before the machinations of these parties,” she said.

Development work would not be hampered and panchayat elections would be held at the right time. In an oblique reference to the contentious issue of deployment of the Central forces for the polls (opposed staunchly by her government), Ms. Banerjee said: “People are needed for polls not security forces... we will reply to the conspiracy through the ballot box.”

On the coming parliamentary polls, Ms Banerjee said that it would be ensured that the Congress never got a single seat from the State. “We will ensure that the Congress does not get a single seat from Bengal,” she said to cheering crowds.

She exhorted regional parties to come together if they have an issue with the Centre. “For the sake of protection of the federal structure, for the sake of protection of the Constitution, I appeal to all regional parties to come together... we will speak for you. As for us... the people of this government of Ma Mati Manush (mother soil and people) will speak,” she said.

Launching a tirade against the Congress and the CPI (M), she said that their single-point agenda was to disturb the State government so that its work was disrupted. “All the central agencies have been harnessed to the job” she commented, adding that a conspiracy was hatched by the CPI (M), the Congress and a section of the BJP to malign the government.

She dismissed as a pack of lies the statements by the CPI (M) leaders that none among them had allowed chit fund bosses to get too close. “I can show you documents to prove otherwise,” she thundered holding aloft some blown-up pictures.

On the demand for an investigation into the swindle by the Central Bureau of Investigation she said: “I respect that institution... but we all know how the apex court has described them... as ‘a caged bird’. I don’t want to say anything further... but have they been able to deliver justice in any of the cases referred to them, like Nandigram, Netai or the Gyaneswari train disaster?”