Kolkata: The Election Commission of India’s decision to have six-phase polling in Bengal, under a security blanket of central forces, has left Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee somewhat flustered and visibly displeased.
Although she did not directly criticise the ECI, Mamata claimed to have been made a “victim of conspiracy”.
Mamata, who made public her list of candidates for the Assembly elections within a couple of hours of ECI announcing dates for the polls, expressed unhappiness with the six-phase poll schedule, compared to two phases in Assam and single phase in the remaining southern states and a union territory.
“Even a state like Assam, which experiences communal tension, will have two-phase polling. We don’t have such problems. Yet, it’s six-phase for us,” Mamata said.
“Bengal always ends up a victim of conspiracy,” she said, while announcing her list of all 294 candidates on Friday. Lashing out at the Left and Congress, who are working out an alliance to fight the polls, Banerjee called it “an immoral and unlawful alliance”. “There’s no logic in CPM and Congress contesting against each other in Kerala because they are contesting in Bengal jointly,” she said.
“We’ll contest on our own. We’ve always fought against CPM because that party believes in negativity. They believe in strikes and violence. They got the opportunity to rule for 34 years but did nothing,” she said.
Claiming that the Left and the Congress are working hand-in-glove with BJP, she said, “We’ve tried our best in the last four and a half years. They are trying to ruin our hard work. You can understand it if you analyse some of their actions.”
Mamata, who had some surprises in her list, pointed out that she will be fielding 45 women and 57 Muslims this time, compared to 31 women and 38 Muslim candidates during 2011 Assembly polls. The Trinamool list had 94 new candidates, including footballer Syed Rahim Nabi, cricketer Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, and Bengali actor Soham.