A combative Narendra Modi Sunday took on the poll panel for failing to check "rigging and violence" in Bengal, Bihar and UP, daring it to take action against him and also tore into CM Mamata Banerjee over "illegal Bangladeshi migrants".
BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi holds up his ink-marked finger and the party symbol as he poses for a photograph after casting his vote at a polling station in Ahmedabad. (AFP photo)
The BJP has been a fringe player in West Bengal, polling only 6% votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. This time, however, it is expecting a much improved performance and Modi, who addressed two rallies on Sunday, has been leading the charge.
"Why are you (election commission) not acting? What is your intention? If you feel wrong about what I am saying now, then you are free to lodge another case against me," Modi said in the industrial town of Asansol.
Later in Delhi, the BJP said Modi had merely made a suggestion to the EC.
The Gujarat CM, who has two FIRs against him for election code violations, was referring to complaints lodged by the opposition Left Front, Congress and the BJP after nine Bengal seats went to the polls on April 30.
HT wrote on May 4 that the EC would be sending 15,000 more troops to the state, which sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha, for the remaining two rounds of polling following complaints of large-scale rigging and violence by the ruling Trinamool Congress.
"There was so much rigging... This kind of game cannot be allowed to go on,” Modi told an impressive crowd that cheered him on. Singer Babul Supriyo is the BJP candidate from Asansol that votes on May 7. He warned if appropriate measures were not taken, there would be a repeat of April 30 when the remaining constituencies in the three states go to the polls on May 7 and 12.
Two days after his party chief Rajnath Singh tried to reach out to Banerjee by promising a central relief package — a long-standing demand of the CM — Modi took her on.
Addressing a rally in Bankura, he reiterated that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh would have to pack their bags if the BJP would come to power in Delhi.
"You are concerned about infiltrators and not your own people ... they must go back, they are robbing the youth of India of their livelihood," Modi said. The remarks come after three days of violence in neighbouring Assam left 33 Muslims dead, with the BJP and the Congress blaming each other.
Accusing Banerjee of not doing enough for the Muslims, Modi reeled out stats to claim that the minority community was better off in Gujarat than in Bengal.
Hitting out at Banerjee over her "paper tiger" jibe, Modi dared the CM to arrest the guilty in the multi-crore Saradha scandal, "If you have the guts, put the Saradha culprits behind bars. Then I will admit you are a real tiger."
Reacting to Modi’s remarks, Banerjee once again challenged him to deport any resident of Bengal. “Let him touch any person, I will rock Delhi," she said.
Modi will be back in the state on May 7 for three more rallies.
He also addressed public rallies Allahabad and Bhadohi — two of 15 east UP constituencies that go to the polls on May 7.
"The election commission takes credit for conducting free and fair elections in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu which is never a big task. It failed in the highly sensitive places of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal where it should have been most vigilant," he said at the rally at Allahabad's Parade ground near the Sangam.
"In UP, massive rigging took place in the government of ''chacha-bhatija'' (Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav) despite an Intelligence Bureau report warning about this," he claimed.
Read: Put Saradha scam culprits behind bars, I will admit you are a real tiger, says Modi to Mamata
Modi also demanded deployment of central armed forces at every booth in UP, claiming the central government had received a Intelligence Bureau report that mass booth capturing had been planned on May 7 and 12 and the election commission should pay immediate attention to it.
"The election commission of India will be responsible if free and fair polls do not take place in last phase of polling in Purvanchal and Bihar," he added at Kaulapur village in Bhadohi.
Attacking the Congress, the SP and the BSP, he said: "The governments of mother and son and father and son and earlier Behenji (Mayawati) did no good to Uttar Pradesh."
Describing present situation in the country as shame, he said, "Doob maro maa bete ki sarkaar (the mother-son government should die of shame)."
"Such is the situation in the country that farmers are dying, soldiers are being beheaded, hundreds of soldiers attained martyrdom due to Maoist problems but the central government has failed to take any action," he added.
Targeting both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, he said they have manufactured new ''abuses in their factories'' which they hurled in their rallies.
On Sonia Gandhi's recent comment that Modi acted like he had already become prime minister, he said, "May your saying come true."
Invoking his chaiwala image and humble background, he said: "Madam Sonia belongs to an influential family. But I come from a poor family. I can understand her problem. She cannot even imagine how a person of humblr origin can progress in life. But in a democracy anyone can progress." The BJP prime ministerial candidate promised all out support to the Bhadohi carpet industry.
On the controversy over his 'Dil Maange More' comment in Himachal Pradesh last week, he said, "I am not ashamed of asking for ''more''. The government which had looted people should be ashamed of itself. I am demanding more for farmers and oppressed lot and will continue to ask for more for country."
Modi further said his government would have corruption-free MPs.
"After constituting new government, I will hand over all the affidavits that they had submitted to returning officers to Supreme Court which will send the tainted MPs to jail and others will get entry in Parliament. The process will be completed within one year and afterwards I will move to assembly to ensure that every corrupt elected representative is sent to jail," he added.
Read: Modi not challenging Election Commission: MJ Akbar