Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will start her north Bengal campaign from April 10 with a rally at Malda and warned party supporters against the recent politics of violence unleashed by the CPI(M). North Bengal is going to polls on April 18.
Rattled at the spate of violence, the Trinamool Congress leadership has sought Election Commission’s intervention and alleged that a section of police was acting on the behest of CPI(M) to terrorise locals.
A visibly livid Banerjee, who returned to the city on Tuesday night after visiting Jamuria in Burdwan, where the coal mafia killed one Trinamool Congress worker, urged supporters to stay calm and not fall into the trap of provocation. “The CPI(M) will instigate violence and we will counter it democratically and politically.”
“They know what they are doing. They will first target peace,” said the Trinamool chief. Banerjee sees a grand plan of the Marxists to start a spate of violence before “the defeat.” After Jamuria, the railway minister warned people against a section of police perpetuating violence. “They are red card holders,” she said, alleging that even after the EC had asked some of the officers in question to be removed, “They are being posted at prominent positions bypassing the rule.” Banerjee alleged that she saw a police officer at Jamuria on Tuesday who was responsible for violence in Nandigram.
“The police force should be assertive and work impartially,” she said, clearly stating that “not everyone in the force is bad.”
The Trinamool Congress leader gave a list of recent attacks by the CPI(M) on her candidates and party workers. According to Banerjee, Trinamool candidates have been assaulted at Ghatal, Pandabeswar, Raina and Purshura. Congress candidates at Keshpur and Goghat have also been attacked, Banerjee alleged.
Banerjee will highlight the issue of violence during her whirlwind tour of North Bengal, which goes to polls on April 18 with 54 constituencies. The Trinamool chief will be holding rallies at Malda, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Siliguri between April 10 and 14 and take a break on April 15 to return to her mother for the Bengali New year. From April 16 and 24, Banerjee will be campaigning in the constituencies going for polls in the second and third phase in Nadia, Birbhum, North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata.
The railway minister smiled as she thanked her alliance partner, Congress for providing her with a helicopter, which will be extensively used in north Bengal.
According to Banerjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be addressing a rally in Kolkata where she will participate. “The timings of Congress leaders are not matching with our rallies in the early phase. In most cases we call Congress candidates to our meeting and vice versa,” she added.
Rahul to campaign
Rahul Gandhi will be campaigning for Congress candidates in North Bengal on April 14. Talking to HT, Om Prakash Mishra, convener of campaign committee of Congress said, “Gandhi will be addressing 4 rallies in North Bengal at Jalpaiguri, Malbazar, Chalsa, Raiganj, Motabari and Harishchandrapur,” he said.