West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that despite the BJP's recent victory in assembly elections in four states, winning the upcoming presidential polls may not be easy for the saffron party as it doesn't have even half the total number of legislators across the country. Asserting that the "game is not yet over", Banerjee said that those who don't have even half of the total number of legislators in the country should not talk big as parties like Samajwadi Party, despite defeat in assembly polls, are stronger electorally than last time. "The presidential elections will not be easy for the BJP this time. They don't have even half of the total MLAs in the country. Opposition parties together have more MLAs across the nation," she said in the assembly. "The game is not yet over. Without our support, you (BJP) won't sail through. Even parties like the Samajwadi Party, which lost the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, have more MLAs than last time. You shouldn't forget that," she said.
The presidential elections are conducted indirectly through an electoral college consisting of elected members of the Parliament and legislative assemblies of states and Union territories. The number and value of votes of each voter from the state legislatures is worked out by a formula which takes into account the population of the state in 1971. Criticising the BJP government at the Centre over the 'Pegasus' issue, Banerjee claimed that her phone is also being tapped, and she also had received an offer to buy the spyware but had declined it. "My phone is being tapped. If we talk about anything, they will come to know. Three years back, I had also got an offer to buy Pegasus. But I did not buy it. I don't believe in interfering in privacy and curbing freedom of speech. But several BJP-ruled states had bought Pegasus," she said. Banerjee, who has been trying to stitch an anti-BJP front to take on the saffron camp in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, said that the country is preparing to fight the ruling party at the Centre.
The feisty TMC boss, while speaking on the Hills and Home Affairs budget discussion, lauded the state police for maintaining law and order in the state and rubbished allegations of political violence as "canards spread by the opposition". Condemning the recent killings of two councillors of Congress and TMC, Banerjee said the police is investigating the matters, and stern action will be taken without considering the political affiliation of the culprits. "The police is investigating both the cases. Some arrests have been made; the police will not see any political colour while investigating the matters. Our police force is doing a great job and can be compared with only Scotland Yard," she said. The TMC boss slammed the BJP government at the Centre for using central agencies like CBI and ED to target opposition leaders. The opposition BJP staged a walkout during Banerjee's speech after opposition and Treasury benches traded slogans and counter slogans of "Jai Bangla" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai".