Mamata attacks AIMIM, ISF over bid to split Muslim votes
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday warned against an alleged split in minority votes ahead of the third phase of state assembly elections on April 6, which will cover constituencies with a significant Muslim population.
“A friend of BJP has come from Hyderabad. Along with a boy from Furfura Sharif he is spending crores of rupees and giving communal slogans. They are not only trying to divide Hindus and Muslims, but even attempting to split the Muslim votes,” said Banerjee, in a veiled attack on Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian Secular Front (ISF).
While the AIMIM is going it alone in the Bengal elections, the ISF is fighting the elections in alliance with the CPI(M) and the Congress
Out of the 31 constituencies spread across three districts – South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly – that are going into polls on Tuesday, some have a significant minority population. Seats like Uluberia and Bagnan in Howrah have more than 40% Muslim population, while in South 24 Parganas, the minority population is centred on seats like Canning, Magrahat and Diamond Harbour, among others.
While Owaisi didn’t respond to calls and messages, Siddiqui hit back at Banerjee saying that divisive politics was a brainchild of Mamata Banerjee.
“It was Banerjee who started divisive politics by appeasing minority population. Secondly I have no alliance with AIMIM. Thirdly, Mamata is herself a friend of BJP,” Siddiqui added.
The BJP, too, hit back saying that Banerjee has become jittery after realising her imminent defeat based on two phases of voting. “The TMC chief has become jittery because she knows very well that she has to go on May 2. So she is giving such statements. People of Bengal will give her a befitting reply as she and her party has been unmasked,” said Jay Prakash Majumdar, BJP spokesperson.
The BJP has also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of Indiaagainst Banerjee for allegedly making “provocative, hate inciting and communal” statements at the public rally in South 24 Parganas.
Meanwhile, a video clip purportedly showing Banerjee sitting on a wheelchair and moving her plastered leg back and forth has gone viral, triggering a fresh war of words between the BJP and the TMC.
“This proves how low can the BJP stoop,” said Kunal Ghosh, TMC spokesperson.
BJP spokesperson Pronoy Roy hit back,saying: “The video was not taken by us. It was taken by someone from the TMC in a party meeting. We have always wished her a speedy recovery.”