Confident of sweeping the 2016 West Bengal Assembly polls, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee urged her supporters and party workers to start preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“We have already won this assembly poll. You should vote for me so that we can capture Delhi in 2019 and oust the BJP from power. Start your preparations from now,” Banerjee said on Wednesday while addressing a pre-poll rally at Basirhat, around 70 km north of Kolkata.
The chief minister addressed at least three rallies in North 24 Parganas as 33 constituencies of the district go to polls on April 25 in the fourth phase. Her three rallies were organised in three constituencies – Basirhat, Barasat and Dum Dum.
Both Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and leader of the opposition in West Bengal assembly Surya Kanta Mishra had earlier claimed the Congress-Left Front alliance would form the government in the state after the elections.
But Banerjee seemed confident of her comeback and said , “I would come back to Basirhat to inaugurate the football stadium. I want sweets from you at that time. In Basirhat you get good sweets I know that.”
Draped in her usual attire – a white cotton saree with a green border and wearing a party badge – Banerjee lashed out at the Congress-Left Front alliance.
“Such alliance won’t do any good. We had formed an alliance in 2001, 2004 and 2006. Nothing happened. We came to power only went people wanted us. This time too people would vote for us and bring us back,” she said at Barasat, her second stopover for the day.
She also reminded voters of the days when Left Front led a scathing attack against former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, whose name had surfaced in the Bofors scam.
People gatherd in thousands braving the blistering heat and cheered for the Trinamool Congress chief in all the three rallies. While men were seen beating drums village, women blew conch shells.
“In 2011 when the Left Front was ousted from power, West Bengal got democratic and political rights. But we haven’t got our financial rights yet. We still have to repay the debts made by the former Left Front government,” Banerjee said.
In Dum Dum in the northern fringes of the city where Banerjee addressed her last rally for the day and introduced her party’s candidates, she urged voters not to cast their votes in favour of the BJP, Congress or the Left.
With North 24 Parganas sharing its border with Bangladesh and incidents of infiltration and cattle smuggling a menace in the district, the BJP is trying to make political inroads, riding on strong anti-Muslim sentiments. The party’s only MLA Samik Bhattacharya is from this district.
Banerjee also defended party MPs purportedly seen accepting cash bribes in a sting operation. “Why would an MP like Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar need money? She has enough money. She can buy 50 Naradas (companies),” said Mamata Banerjee at Dumdum.
She highlighted that the Congress, CPI-M and BJP have unaccounted money in their party funds. “Congress, CPI-M and BJP has money from unknown sources with them. Why there is no investigation taking place?” asked Banerjee.
Dastidar is one of the Trinamool Congress leaders who were caught on camera allegedly accepting money. The Narada scam is a major hurdle for the Trinamool in this election.