Nabadwip (WB): West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday she will call upon the Election Commission to stop the BJP from bringing “outsiders” during campaigning, squarely blaming the saffron party for exacerbating the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Banerjee, during a public meeting here in Nadia district, said the BJP brought people from “worst-hit” states like Gujarat for erecting marquees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll rallies.

“I will tell the EC to stop the inflow of outsiders from states like Gujarat who are responsible for the COVID-19 spread in Bengal.

“We have nothing to say if the PM or other leaders come for campaigning… Why should the BJP bring people from worst-affected states to set up podiums and pandals for rallies,” she said.

The Trinamool Congress boss said local labourers and decorators can be engaged for the purpose after necessary COVID-19 tests.

Referring to her injury, the chief minister said the BJP wanted to stop her from canvassing by “targeting her leg”, but she has managed to come out triumphant.

“They had targeted my leg, but I proved them wrong with the blessings of people. The injury has healed 75 per cent,” she said.

Banerjee, who suffered injuries on her leg during campaigning in Nandigram on March 10, has since been seen seated on a wheelchair in rallies and roadshows.

She said the COVID-19 surge in West Bengal could have been under check had Modi ensured vaccination for every citizen of the state.

Also read: Bengal polls: 5 candidates test positive for COVID-19

“The virus had become weak in the last five-six months. But, the PM did not take steps to vaccinate every citizen. He did not even respond to my suggestion for free vaccination for people of the state for political reasons.

“On our part, we have already started free inoculation at some camps in Kolkata and other areas,” Banerjee said

West Bengal on Thursday recorded the highest single-day spike of 6,769 coronavirus cases and at least 22 more fatalities.

Urging all eligible voters to exercise their franchise on Saturday, the fifth phase of assembly elections, she alleged, “If you don’t, citing some excuses, the BJP will try to delete your name from the voter list.”

The TMC chief also slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre for the hike in LPG cyclinder prices. “If they have their way, BJP will take it to Rs 5,000 per cyclinder… Tell them we don’t want cash for votes, we want cooking gas for free,” she said, accusing the saffron party of distributing money among people for votes.

Also read: Bengal: CID takes over probe in Cooch Behar CISF firing

Speaking about the temple town Nabadwip, Banerjee said her government has spent Rs 300 crore for the heritage spot. “There are two heritage towns in the state — Nabadwip and Cooch Behar. What we have done for these places, no other government had done so during their tenure,” she asserted.

Banerjee added that a world heritage centre was also coming up in Mayapur. “Nabadwip and Cooch Behar will be a pilgrimage hub when the planned projects are completed, attracting lakhs of tourists and providing more employment opportunities,” the CM said.

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