West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday referred to TMC rebels as "traitors" like Mir Jafar, and slammed the BJP for fielding the turncoats in the state assembly polls leaving the old-timers in the saffron party shedding tears.
Nandigram and Singur movement was the trendsetter in the field of land reforms in the state, said Banerjee as she talked about her decision to contest from Nanddigram instead of her usual Bhowanipore seat.
Addressing a poll rally at Egra in Purba Medinipur district, Banerjee accused BJP of practising "politics of riot, loot and murder", and urged everyone "to be on guard against outsiders appearing in their localities".
"Gaddars (traitors), Mir Jafar(s) have now become BJP candidates to the dismay of old-timers of the saffron party," she said in an obvious reference to Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee who had shifted allegiance to the BJP along with other leaders like Mukul Roy.
Mir Jafar, the military general of Bengal's last independent nawab Siraj-ud-daulah, is considered a hate figure for deceiving the besieged nawab during the Battle of Plassey in
1757, paving the way for British rule in India.
The saffron party is witnessing protests from its cadres at several places for giving a ticket to TMC turncoats ignoring them.
The TMC, which has made 'Bengali pride' its core poll plank, has called the BJP a 'party of outsiders'' as its top leaders hail from outside the state.
Venting her anger against the TMC leaders for switching over to the BJP, she said: "these turncoats" were given many responsibilities in the past but did not do justice with the job.
"I will be monitoring every project so that its benefit reaches everyone," she said.
About her decision to contest from Nandigram, she said, "Many people have asked me why I decided to contest from faraway Nandigram rather than a constituency in Kolkata. I replied I chose it since the movement against land acquisition in Nandigram (in 2007-2008) and Singur had played a significant role in the field of land reforms in the state.
"Also I consider every corner of West Bengal as my own place."
Banerjee is pitted against her protege-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari in the Nandigram seat where voting will take place on April 1.
The anti-land acquisition movement at Nandigram had catapulted Banerjee to power in 2011, ending the 34-year rule of the Left Front in Bengal.
Slamming the saffron party for chanting "Hari Hari in front and stabbing from behind", the TMC chief claimed, "Chewing pan parag and putting tilak on forehead, the BJP carries on the attack on people."
Coining the slogan "No vote to BJP", Banerjee also asked the crowd not to vote for the CPI-M and the Congress either "as they are friends of the BJP."
The CPI-M, Congress and the fledgeling ISF have formed an alliance in West Bengal against the TMC and the BJP in the election of 294-member state assembly.
Banerjee asked the people to maintain a vigil outside the counting centres where the EVMs will be kept after polling, saying "Do not leave the place even if central security and state police ask you to do so.
"Also if an EVM malfunctions, ensure that the machine replacing it is tested properly."
Alleging that women are not safe in the BJP-ruled states, she said, "In Uttar Pradesh, women are raped and murdered. The father of a rape victim was killed recently.
"If a poor man steals Rs 500 we pounce on him. What about the BJP stealing lakhs of rupees in jumla, what about lakhs of cash being plundered in the name of selling PSUs? These thefts by BJP leaders are never known publicly?"
The chief minister said, 'Duare Sarkar' (government at the doorstep) camps will be set up again in August-September and will be held twice a year from now on.
Asserting that the victory of the TMC in the assembly polls "will be the precursor to dislodging the BJP in Delhi", Banerjee said, "If you want me to be at the helm again, make every TMC candidate a winner."
The TMC leader recited 'chandi path' before wrapping up her speech and also wished Muslims, Christians and members of different tribes and castes.
"We are all united and together. None can rupture our unity. This is Bengal", she said.
With PTI Inputs