Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday criticised Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee over her appeal to West Bengal’s Muslims not to divide their vote.
PM Modi, while campaigning for the BJP at a poll rally in Cooch Behar, said that Mamata’s appeal indicates that she has lost their support. Notably, 27 per cent of Bengal’s population comprises of Muslims—a critical segment for TMC as it wrestles it out with the BJP.
The prime minister also said that a similar appeal by the BJP to Hindus would have attracted the wrath of the media and the Election Commission (EC) on the saffron party.
What PM Modi said
PM Modi said that if people of Bengal vote BJP to power, he will return the love with interest in the form of development. He said, “Dear Didi, recently you said all Muslims should unite, and not allow their votes to be divided. You are saying this means that you are convinced that the Muslim vote bank has also gone out of your hands. The Muslims have also turned away from you. That you had to say so publicly—this shows that you have lost the election.”
PM Modi further said, “Didi, you are abusive towards the Election Commission. But had we asked the Hindus to unite and vote for BJP, we would have got eight or ten notices from the Election Commission. Editorials would have been written about us in the entire country.”
Division of Muslim votes
The concern of Mamata Banerjee with regard to the party’s Muslim vote bank has increased ever since the entry of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and a religious leader from Furfura Sharif, Abbas Siddiqui.
Siddiqui has floated the Indian Secular Front which is part of the Congress-CPM alliance. While Mamata has termed Owaisi as BJP’s “Team B”, she has said that Abbas Siddiqui is more dangerous than a cobra.
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