KOLKATA/BARASAT: West Bengal CM and
, speaking minutes after the 24-hour ban on campaigning imposed on her by the Election Commission ended, said she has left it to the people to decide how fair it was that she could not campaign for her party during that time even as
leaders were free to do so.
“What wrong did Mamata Banerjee say? Vote in a united way? I still want people to vote in a united way,” she told the crowd at Barasat 15 minutes after the ban ended.
The CM was alluding to statements made by her during campaigning on April 4, where she had appealed to her “minority brothers and sisters with folded hands... do not let minority votes be divided”. The unprecedented EC ban came after this statement, and a subsequent one urging people to “gherao
personnel if they foment trouble”, made two days later in Cooch Behar.
“I am a street fighter and I fight the battle from the battlefield,” Banerjee said, reminding everyone that she couldn’t be confined to her home. Arguing that the 72-hour silence phase for the fifth phase of the assembly polls on Saturday (for all political parties) and the 24-hour ban meant she could not campaign for “four days”, she alleged that there was a concerted, all-out effort to stop her under the “pretext” of an election. “From the heavyweights to the minnows in BJP, the government of India, all its agencies are (working) together to finish me. There is an unholy effort to insult Bengal, to capture Bengal. But I will never let Bengal be Gujarat,” she said. “But they cannot defeat me,” she added.
Attacking PM Narendra Modi, she said: “Every election day, he will launch a campaign (in Bengal). He is the PM, not just any politician. People can be misled. I want to draw the EC’s attention to it. If he stops, I will also not campaign.”