Rajat Sharma


akbIn his whirlwind election campaign in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee to task for the atrocities committed on women and local farmers by TMC leaders in Sandeshkhali. This issue has already hogged national news headlines. Modi, in his rallies in Arambagh and Krishnagar, focused on corruption and atrocities against women in Bengal. He did not mince words while criticizing Mamata and her party while describing the Sandeshkhali “atrocities” as “shameful”. Modi also alleged that TMC has converted all “schemes” into “scams”. He mentioned the seizure of huge amounts of cash from people close to TMC ministers. One must admire Modi for his remarkable tenacity in electioneering. On Thursday night, he was busy at his party headquarters till 3.30 am finalizing the names of candidates for nearly 150 constituencies. He returned home and early morning, he was in Jharkhand and Bengal, addressing rallies in Sindri and Arambagh. Modi had a night stay in Kolkata on Friday and again left for his meetings in Krishnagar on Saturday, followed by his visits to Aurangabad, Patna and Begusarai in Bihar. Modi is focussed on achieving his target of winning 370 Lok Sabha seats this time, if not more. On Friday evening, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Modi as part of protocol, and gifted him a box of laddoos. It was described by Mamata as a courtesy call, despite the fact that hours earlier, Modi had lambasted the TMC chief at his Arambagh rally. Mamata Banerjee is going to respond by holding Mahila Padyatra in Kolkata next week on the eve of International Women’s Day to counter BJP’s publicity campaign on atrocities against women in Sandeshkhali. In his Arambagh rally, Modi said, the entire nation hangs its head in shame over the atrocities committed on “mothers and sisters of Sandeshkhali”. He blamed Mamata for trying to protect the perpetrators of crimes in Sandeshkhali, since they belonged to her party. Modi asked at the rally, “how can any criminal save himself for 56 days without political patronage”. He also asked why Mamata’s alliance partners in INDIA bloc are silent on the Sandeshkhali issue. “Like Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys, they have closed their eyes, ears and noses”, Modi said. The Pto “everrime Minister asked voters to reply to every “chot” (attack) by using their “vote”. Modi vowed to send to jail all those who have looted people’s money in Bengal. It is pertinent to note why Modi chose Arambagh as the place to start his Bengal poll campaign. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s Tapas Kumar Roy lost to TMC’s Aparupa Poddar by a slender margin of 1146 votes. In 2014 elections, TMC had won the Arambagh seat, and at that time BJP candidate was on third place behind the CPI-M candidate. This time, BJP is confident of winning the Arambagh seat. One more point. Aparupa Poddar named herself Aafreen Ali after marrying a Muslim, and since Arambagh is a scheduled caste reserved constituency, she may or may not be allowed to contest this time, since she is now a Muslim. Even if she gets Muslim votes, there is danger of Hindu voters moving away from TMC. Already, BJP has made “Muslim appeasement” a big issue in this election. On Mamata Banerjee, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi made a significant point in my show ‘Aap Ki Adalat’. Owaisi said, Mamata has only been paying lip service to the cause of Muslims in Bengal, and has been using Muslim vote bank as a ladder to success. On the whole, Owaisi said, the common living conditions of Muslims in Bengal have not improved. He mentioned how in Malda and Murshidabad, which are predominantly Muslim areas, hundreds of Muslims are suffering from toxic underground water and Muslim women are working in abysmal conditions in beedi rolling units of Murshidabad. You can watch Aap Ki Adalat show with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on India TV on Saturday and Sunday nights at 10 pm.

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