By PTI

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism of her government over the violence during panchayat elections was “unexpected” and he had made the comments without checking facts.

It is not a constitutional norm that the prime minister and the chief ministers speak against each other, Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

Modi on Tuesday came down heavily at the Mamata Banerjee government over the violence during panchayat elections in West Bengal, saying democracy was “murdered” for narrow political interests.

“We never expected the prime minister to speak in this manner. The prime minister has spoken against us but I have not reacted because of courtesy.

He has spoken on whatever he was briefed by the BJP workers without crosschecking facts,” the governing Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said.

Stating that there were some “sporadic incidents” of violence during the May 14 panchayat elections, she said 10 out of the 13 persons killed on the day were TMC supporters.

“They were murdered by supporters of the BJP and the CPI (M). There has been FIR in every case,” Banerjee alleged referring to the arrest of former TMC MLA Arabul Islam.

Not a single BJP worker was killed, she alleged, adidng that to “intimidate” voters, people from Bangladesh were brought inside West Bengal through Bangaon, Bagda, Gaighata and Basirhat and that had hampered the polls for sometime.

“Crores and crores of rupees were brought into West Bengal during the elections from states like Jharkhand, Assam and others. We have arrested a few. This is a new culture in West Bengal.

This was also practised at the (assembly) elections in Tripura and that has opened our eyes,” she claimed.

“I condemn horse trading. If this trend continues it will destroy the country, democracy and civilisation,” she said.

Banerjee said that the Home Ministry has been enquiring on a daily basis even when a BJP activist alleges anything.

Terming those killed during the polls as “martyrs”, Banerjee said the state government would compensate their families irrespective of their political affiliation.

The family of the presiding officer who died at Raiganj in North Dinajpur district during the panchayat elections would also be compensated though he was a railway employee, the chief minister said.

She alleged that though the BJP has been carrying out operations against them in Chhattisgarh, it was working with the Maoists in West Bengal.

Banerjee was referring to the unrest at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district over setting up of a power grid sub-station there.

“We are fighting to protect a central project. We could have ignored that because it is a central government project. But providing protection to it is also one of my responsibility. The central government is also my government,” she said.



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