The long-drawn process of the Lok Sabha election was intended to facilitate yet another "strike" as part of the BJP's "gameplan to disturb" West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said. Addressing a press conference in Kolkata, Banerjee said, "I have been informed by some senior journalists that there will be another strike. What strike I will not say. In the name of so called... so called... so called... in the month of April. That is why it (voting process) will continue till May 19."
"Please don't misquote me. I have great respect for a constitutional body like the Election Commission. But it is a part of the BJP's gameplan to disturb West Bengal," said.
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With the TMC boss' comments being seen as an oblique reference to a likely military action by India, the BJP reacted quickly, dubbing her charge as "baseless".
"She has the habit of levelling baseless accusations. She is given to kite-flying. If she has proof, she should make it public," state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
Banerjee had accused the Centre of creating "war-like hysteria" in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead and the retaliatory air strike by the Indian Air Force on Jaish-e-Mohammad's terror training camp in Pakistan's Balakot.
Banerjee had also said the lives of jawans were much more valuable than electoral politics, but the nation had a right to know what actually happened in Balakot following the IAF's strike.
West Bengal will have polling in all seven phases, beginning April 11 and concluding on May 19.
Banerjee exuded confidence that her party will win all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
She said though she had no problem with the protracted exercise, it would put poll personnel and voters in "distress" as they would have to face the summer heat.
Several leaders of her party have also said the polling during the holy month of Ramzan will inconvenience Muslim voters who observe fast.
"I know the people of my state. I have great respect for the people of Bengal. But the BJP is showing disrespect to them. They (the BJP) have conspired against me and Bengal, but it will boomerang on them," Banerjee said.
Replying to a question, Banerjee said 7-phase polls have been announced only in Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, which are expected to play a key role in deciding who will form the next government at Centre.
Soon after the Election Commission announced the polling schedule on Sunday, the TMC had alleged the central government had "misled" the poll body about the law and order situation in the state.