West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said contesting from Bhabanipur is her destiny and slammed the BJP for bringing in outsiders to the state to create disturbances during the September 30 by-poll in the seat.
Ms Banerjee said her victory in the by-poll is necessary for her to continue as chief minister as it is only she who will fight against CAA, NRC, demonetisation and anti-people policies of the BJP.
Slamming the BJP for its “divisive and destructive policies”, the TMC chief said that she will continue her fight against the “demonic BJP” till it is ousted from power at the Centre.
After winning the Bhabanipur by-poll, TMC will take the fight against the BJP to other states ruled by it and she will follow the principles of Swami Vivekananda of taking everybody along, Ms Banerjee said.
“I have been fighting against the demonic BJP government at the centre since 2014 and will continue to do so till it is ousted from power. Those who cannot run the country properly are sending in people from other states to create disturbances here during the by-poll. We will not follow the divisive and destructive policies of the BJP, we will follow the principles of Swami Vivekananda,” she said at an election meeting in Kolkata.
Taking a dig at Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri’s campaign at Bhabanipur on Wednesday, Ms Banerjee said the minister who has failed to control oil prices is campaigning in the state.
“He (Puri) should first concentrate on bringing down fuel and cooking gas prices and then campaign for elections. During the last assembly polls the BJP leaders had come to the state, but that did not yield any result,” she said.
Slamming the BJP for allegedly creating a “reign of fear” across the country, Ms Banerjee said it does not allow opposition parties to conduct political programmes in the states it is in power.
“The BJP is running the government in the states where it is in power in the most dictatorial way. The opposition political parties are not allowed to conduct political programmes. In Tripura, they (BJP) have imposed prohibitory orders (in West Tripura district) till November 4 so that we (TMC) cannot take out a rally there,” she said.
Wondering whether Durga Puja will be disallowed in Tripura due to the prohibitory order, Ms Banerjee said BJP should clearly state whether they will allow the people to celebrate the festival.
“The BJP leaders in Bengal used to spread canards that I did not allow Durga Puja in Bengal. I want to ask the party whether it will allow the people of Tripura to celebrate the festival as it has imposed prohibitory orders there,” she said.
Durga Puja this year will be held from October 11 to October 14.
The TMC chief said that contesting the by-election and being elected as an MLA from her home seat Bhabanipur is her “destiny”. “I think people want me to continue as chief minister by being an MLA from this area. I request all of you (the electorate) to come out in large numbers and vote for me,” she said.
“My victory is necessary to continue as chief minister as it is only me who will fight against CAA, NRC, demonetisation and the anti-people policies of BJP,” she added.
Ms Banerjee, who is herself a resident of Bhabanipur, had won the seat twice in 2011 and 2016 but had this time shifted to Nandigram where the anti-farmland acquisition movement against the Left Front government in 2007 had transformed her into a major political force. She had made the change to take on her former protege and now a BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari in his home turf.
Though Ms Banerjee had powered the TMC to a resounding win for a third straight term in office in the April-May election, she lost in Nandigram.
She must now win the Bhabanipur seat to ensure an unbroken stint as the chief minister.
Ms Banerjee claimed that a conspiracy was hatched to injure and defeat her from Nandigram. “If I speak about the conspiracy that was hatched to injure and kill me then a chill will run down your spine. I was badly injured in Nandigram in a conspiracy that was hatched to kill me and for the next one and half months I was wheelchair bound. But that couldn’t stop me from campaigning across the state,” she said.
Ms Banerjee was injured in her leg during a poll campaign in Nandigram in April.
The feisty TMC boss who addressed two back to back rallies in Bhabanipur on Wednesday dared the BJP to use central agencies to stop her from fighting against the “anti-people” government at the centre.
“They (BJP) can use central agencies against my party leaders and me, but that won’t stop me from fighting against BJP. Instead it will further intensify my fight,” she said.
Ms Banerjee is required to win a seat in the state assembly by November 5 in conformity with the constitutional provisions to continue as the chief minister. The Constitution allows a non-member of a state legislature or Parliament to continue in a ministerial position without getting elected only for six months.
After her defeat in Nandigram, state cabinet minister and TMC MLA from Bhabanipur, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay vacated the seat to facilitate her return to the assembly from there.
Ms Banerjee is pitted against BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal and Left Front’s Srijib Biswas in the by-poll. Congress has not fielded a candidate against her.
The votes will be counted on October 3.