Kolkata: Questioning the eight-phase assembly elections in West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that she suspects that the dates were announced as per the suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah for better management of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign.
Addressing a press conference at her residence in Kalighat, Banerjee said the Election Commission should not look at the state “through the eyes of the saffron camp”, in a reference to the BJP.
“With all due respect to the Election Commission, I want to say that questions are being raised on why elections will be held in so many phases in Bengal while other states will be voting in one phase. If EC doesn’t provide justice to the people, where will the people go,” she said.
Banerjee said that despite “all these tricks”, she will win the elections.
“I have information from my sources that the poll dates are similar to the ones BJP wanted. Have the dates been announced as per the suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah? The PM and the home minister cannot misuse their power for the state elections,” she added.
Banerjee said she is the daughter of the state and knows Bengal better than the BJP, exuding confidence about her party Trinamool Congress winning the elections.
Meanwhile, BJP in the state welcomed the eight-phase polls.
“We are happy. We hope that the elections would be free and fair and the people of the state will be allowed to exercise their democratic right without any fear,” BJP’s state vice-president Jaiprakash Majumdar said.
State Congress leader Manoj Chakraborty, meanwhile, said that the elections should have been held in at least 10-12 phases, alleging poor law and order situation in the state.
“We have seen how the panchayat polls were held in Bengal. So many people were killed due to violence. We just hope that the Election Commission ensures that polls are held in a free and fair manner,” he said.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said that instead of increasing the number of phases, efforts should have been made to tighten the security during the elections.
“Just seven or eight phases are not enough. The electorate should be free from any sort of fear or intimidation,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)