LS polls: Mamata slams Modi as battle for Diamond Harbor reaches its final stage | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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LS polls: Mamata slams Modi as battle for Diamond Harbor reaches its final stage

May 29, 2024 08:10 PM IST

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is a two-time MP from Diamond Harbour and is seeking a third term. The BJP has fielded Abhijit Das

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the latter used money-power to become a leader, hours after Modi warned of a political upheaval in the country in the next six months in which he said political parties, which thrive on dynasty-politics, would disintegrate.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (File Photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (File Photo)

“A national leader should be secular and humane. But Modi became a leader by fluke using money-power. After becoming a leader, he has become arrogant. I have never seen a liar like him. It is not possible for such a liar to run a country. Such a liar can’t even run a family,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said while addressing an election rally from Metiabruz in the southwestern fringes of Kolkata.

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Metiabruz is one of the seven assembly constituencies in the high-profile Lok Sabha constituency of Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas where election is scheduled in the last phase on June 1. The campaigning for the polls ended on Thursday afternoon.  

Also Read: Mamata Banerjee on Narendra Modi’s ‘sent by God’ remark: ‘We’ll build you a temple, offer dhokla’

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is a two-time MP from the seat and is seeking a third term. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Abhijit Das against from Diamond Harbour.

“This is not just the election to strengthen the hands of Mamata Banerjee. For those who stopped all funds, deprived poor people of the state, and resorted to divisive and communal politics, the time has come to lodge a protest and take revenge against them. Chot ka jawab vote se dena hai,” Abhishek said at the rally.

The BJP fielded Abhijit Das against Abhishek from Diamond Harbour. Das, 54, popularly known as Bobby, contested from Diamond Harbour in 2009 on a BJP ticket. 

Earlier in the day, Modi while addressing a rally from Kakdwip in the adjacent Lok Sabha constituency of Mathurapur sharpened his attack against the TMC-led government over multiple fronts, including the recent attack on monks, opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, (CAA), alleged appeasement politics and not allowing central funds to reach the grass root.

“Infiltrators are snatching away the opportunities of youths in West Bengal. They are usurping your land and properties. The entire nation is concerned. The demography of the bordering areas has been changed. Why did they (TMC) oppose the CAA and are spreading lies and rumours? They want the illegal infiltrators to settle in West Bengal,” Modi said while campaigning for Das. 

While it was Modi’s last rally in the eastern state, it was also the first Banerjee who was campaigning for her nephew before the high-octane battle for this Lok Sabha seat.  

Earlier known to be a Communist Party of India (Marxist) fortress, the TMC first breached the constituency in 2009 when Somen Mitra won the seat by 151,000 votes. In 2014, however, the TMC fielded Abhishek Banerjee for the first time in the Lok Sabha polls and he won the seat by a margin of around 71,000 votes defeating the CPIM’s Abul Hasnat. BJP’s Das came in third. In 2019, Abhishek won the seat by a margin of 320,000 votes defeating Nilanaja Roy of the BJP. 

“(Abhishek) Banerjee will win hands down. But we have to see whether he manages to defeat the BJP candidate by four lakh (400,000) votes as he has been claiming. The CPIM and Congress have been washed away here,” said Iqbal Haider, a local resident.

Also Read: PM Modi steps up attack on Mamata Banerjee, asks if TMC will unleash goons on judges

Locals said that the Indian Secular Front (ISF) has, however, made some impression in Diamond Harbour over the past few years which has around 38% of the Muslim population.

This year ISF chief and the party’s lone legislator Abbas Siddiqui triggered some flutter when he showed interest in contesting against Abhishek. He, however, changed his mind and instead fielded Maznu Laskar. This took away much of the steam out of the anti-TMC contest.

Even though the TMC named all its 42 candidates on March 10, the BJP came up with the name of its Diamond Harbour candidate more than a month later. The BJP camp had come under attack from the ruling TMC for taking so much time to field a candidate against Abhishek. The party named Das as the candidate on April 16.

A social activist and legal advisor, Das is known for his organisational prowess and has a stronghold in the BJP’s ranks and columns in the district. 

TMC workers and even a section of the party’s leaders often proudly flaunt Diamond Harbour as a ‘model’ constituency and hail the MP’s efforts in development.  

“I don’t think there is any need to introduce Abhishek….Be it rain or sunshine, he always thinks about his constituency. I often say that there none can look after a constituency like Abhishek. Vote for him and make him victorious once again,” Mamata said as she held her nephew’s hands in the rally.

The BJP, however, alleged that the Diamond Harbour model is that of intimidation, violence, and malpractice in the constituency, particularly during polls. 

“(Abhishek) Banerjee doesn’t allow a free and fair election here. He has created an ambience of terror in which police and criminals have formed a nexus. Whosoever contests against him is attacked. I was seriously wounded in 2014 when I contested against him. Many would say here there would be a bipolar contest and some would say there would be a three-pronged contest or four-pronged fight. But here the fight is primarily to restore democracy,” said Das.

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