Abhishek Banerjee’s Ram Mandir vs Rights Pitch Ahead Of Bengal Rural Polls

Abhishek Banerjee’s Ram Mandir vs Rights Pitch Ahead Of Bengal Rural Polls

Abhishek Banerjee alleged that centre had released dues for all states except Bengal

Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, widely perceived as the Number 2 in the party, has upped the ante ahead of the upcoming Panchayat elections in West Bengal and the general elections in 2024.

“If you vote on issues of Hindu-Muslim, 56-inch chest or Balakot, you will not be able to exercise your rights,” Mr Banerjee said while addressing a public meeting at Onda in Bankura district. The BJP won both Lok Sabha seats in the district in the 2019 election.

“Voting for the BJP is like digging a canal and inadvertently inviting a crocodile,” Mr Banerjee said.

“In the upcoming panchayat elections, will you vote in the name of religion or your rights? You voted for Ram Mandir, and you are getting it. If you vote for your rights, you will get your rights,” he added.

“Because the BJP lost politically in Bengal, they are withholding funds to take revenge from the people of Bengal,” Mr Banerjee said, referring to the Trinamool’s win in the 2021 Assembly polls.

Describing the Trinamool as the only party “that has not surrendered to the BJP”, Mr Banerjee said the party would launch a signature campaign and an agitation in Delhi to press for the release of funds due to Bengal under Union government’s schemes.

Targeting the BJP over non-payment of dues under the 100-day rural job guarantee scheme, likely to be a major issue in the panchayat elections, Mr Banerjee said, “The next Panchayat and Lok Sabha elections will be fought on which issues? Ram Mandir or your rights? What issues will they be fought on? Pending 100-day-job guarantee scheme payments or Hindu-Muslim? In 2019, their big slogan was Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram. You are free to observe your religion at your home or at a temple the entire day. No one will stop you from doing that. If you say Jai Shri Ram, does petrol become free? does mustard oil become cheaper?”

“When we said Joy Bangla, BJP leaders used to come and say these people are Bangladeshis. Now the President of India comes to Bengal and says Joy Bangla. Whose victory is this?” he added.

Mr Banerjee alleged that the centre had released payments for all states except Bengal. “They have released payments for all states, but they have withheld payments for Bengal, so who is viewing Bengal as Bangladesh? It’s the BJP. The PM. BJP leaders. Only Bengal’s money has been withheld,” he said.

The Trinamool and the BJP have engaged in a bitter battle over funds due to Bengal under central schemes. While the Trinamool alleges the centre is withholding funds for over political motives, the BJP claims there has been corruption in implementation of schemes and that money will be released as soon as accounts of expenses are provided.

Former state BJP president and Kharagpur MP Dilip Ghosh said, “Narendra Modi wanted to make the poor lakhpatis. But the TMC leaders have denied them their dues and become crorepatis with that money. When will this kind of politics end in West Bengal?”

Both the BJP and the Trinamool are concentrating on seats they lost in 2019. While Mr Banerjee campaigned in Bankura, where the BJP won both seats, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to visit Suri in Birbhum district Friday, where the BJP faced defeat.

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