West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that the BJP will be defeated across the country in the next Lok Sabha polls due in 2024, and claimed that the party would face similar drubbing that it had tasted in the last assembly polls in the state.
While addressing a rally for the December 19 Kolkata Municipal election (KMC) at Phoolbagan area in the city, Ms Banerjee said her sole aim after returning to power for the third consecutive term in the state is to bring industry and generate jobs.
“During the assembly polls, we have seen the campaign that the BJP had unleashed in the state. Everybody was afraid of it. But the people of the state defeated them. Bengal is a place of communal harmony. What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. We will defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. It will meet the same fate as it had faced in the last assembly polls,” she said.
The rally is Ms Banerjee’s first public function after her return from Goa on Tuesday, where she had gone on a two-day political visit.
“I want to see the BJP lose across the country in the 2024 elections. It will be Khela Hobey (there will be a game) again,” she said.
The “Khela Hobe” slogan of the TMC had become immensely popular during the high-octane campaigning of the assembly election held earlier this year.
“We have opened a new unit in Goa. In Tripura too, we have expanded. In Tripura, we have faced a lot of atrocities,” she said.
The ruling camp of West Bengal is trying to expand its footprint nationally. The TMC, in its bid to enter Tripura’s political arena, recently engaged in a bitter battle with the BJP during the municipal elections there. It is also gearing up to contest the assembly elections in Goa to pitch Banerjee firmly as the foremost anti-BJP opposition voice.
Assembly elections in Goa and Tripura are due in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Reacting to Banerjee’s claim that BJP will be defeated in the next Lok Sabha poll, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said the TMC supremo should stop daydreaming about becoming the next prime minister.
“She had said similar things in 2014 and in 2019 and all of us have seen the results,” he said.
The Chief Minister, while speaking on her government’s vision in her third tenure, said, “I am working towards bringing industry in the state so that jobs can be generated. That’s my aim, and I will achieve it,” she said.
She said her government is mulling to set up a one-stop online mechanism for clearing industries and building approvals easier and make the system corruption-free.
Giving a call for a “corruption-free” civic body, the TMC boss asked the party candidates in the KMC polls to work for the people and ensure that their grievances related to civic issues are addressed at the earliest.
Banerjee said several sitting councillors were dropped this time for “non-performance”.
“The MPs and MLAs cannot do everything. People’s representatives mainly do the work of an area. The councillor has to fulfil his responsibilities. If you don’t work, you have to step down. If people come to you with a problem and you sit over it or seek money, it is unacceptable,” she said.
“No one can make money from people or monopolise the supply of building materials,” she added.
In the last KMC polls held in 2015, the TMC had won 126 out of the 144 seats. It had retained 87 sitting councillors and had dropped 39.
Listing out the “good work” done by the KMC in the last two tenures since 2010, Banerjee said the TMC-led civic body has done a lot of developmental work for the city.
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