Kolkata

BJP will not get majority in 2024 elections, says Mamata Banerjee

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing a massive gathering at Esplanade to commemorate her party’s Martyr’s Day event.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressing a massive gathering at Esplanade to commemorate her party’s Martyr’s Day event. | Photo Credit: DEBASISH BHADURI

Accusing the BJP government at the Centre of “monumental incompetence”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that the BJP will not get the single party majority in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing a huge gathering in Kolkata to commemorate her party’s Martyrs’ Day event, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson expressed hope that all Opposition parties will unite once the BJP doesn’t get the majority. 

“BJP will not get a single party majority and once it does not, others [Opposition parties] will unite,” she said.

Ms. Banerjee said that the 2024 Lok Sabha polls will not be to elect a government but to reject the BJP government at the Centre. “We want a Prime Minister who works for the poor, not a Prime Minister who works for the rich,” she said, adding that this government had nothing to offer to the poor. 

The TMC chairperson, while addressing a massive rally in Kolkata ‘s Esplanade area, targeted the BJP government on several issues, including the imposition of GST on packaged food products. Ms. Banerjee asked the people in the crowd whether they were carrying puffed rice and asked them to pass it on to the stage. 

“There is a GST on muri (puffed rice). What will the people eat?” she asked, holding a plate of puffed rice.

Similarly, she had the replica of an LPG cylinder brought on the stage and targeted the Centre on the rise in prices of petroleum products. 

Referring to the developments in Maharashtra, the Chief Minister said that the BJP had plans of usurping power in opposition-ruled states like Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. “Don’t eye Bengal. There are Royal Bengal tigers here,” she said. Recalling the 2021 Assembly polls, the TMC chairperson said that the BJP had tried every trick to win the polls but failed. 

Ms. Banerjee accused the Centre of imposing economic blockade on the State by denying funds for MGNREGA and other key schemes. “In politics, someone wins and someone loses. But it doesn’t mean that you will stop funds if you get defeated.... We will go to Delhi and gherao if the MGNREGA funds are not [released],” she said. 

The Martyrs’ Day rally, an annual event of TMC’s to pay homage to the 13 people killed in police firing on July 21, 1993 during the rule of the Left Front government, was held physically after a period of two years due to COVID-19 pandemic. The gathering on Thursday, which was a show of strength for a ruling party, was among occasions that have seen the highest ever public participation in the recent past. 

The Chief Minister targeted Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader and senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and accused him of hampering government efforts to provide jobs to people. Mr. Bhattacharya has argued at the Calcutta High Court in several cases involving alleged irregularities in the appointment of teachers and non-teaching staff in State-run schools, with the court directing probes by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). 

Ms. Banerjee accused Mr. Bhattacharya of irregularities in the issue of birth certificates when he was the Mayor of Kolkata. Responding to the allegations, Mr. Bhattacharya dared the CM to set up an inquiry commission headed by herself and publish its report in 15 days. The CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP rubbished all allegations, and said that during his tenure, birth certificates were issued to street children under a UNICEF project. 

State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said no GST had been imposed on puffed rice and all that the Chief Minister was doing by sourcing puffed rice from the crowd was “a drama”. Mr. Majumdar also said that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was working for the poor, not Mamata Banerjee.


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Printable version | Jul 21, 2022 5:14:07 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bjp-will-not-get-majority-in-2024-elections-says-mamata-banerjee/article65665842.ece