On Tuesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee informed that Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren will campaign for her party in the poll-bound state. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo had earlier ditched its ally Congress and vowed his support to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the run-up to the crucial State Legislative polls.
As per reports, Hemant Soren will be campaigning for the TMC today (March 24) in the Purulia and Bankura constituencies. Both of them have a ‘sizeable population’ of Adivasis (tribals). The development comes days after Mamata Banerjee and her fellow party member Derek O’ Brien had initiated a debate around ‘Outsiders Vs Bengalis’.
‘Outsider vs Bengali’ rhetorics of the TMC
In a bid to rake up Bengali sentiments, the Trinamool Congress had attacked several BJP leaders by dubbing them as ‘outsiders’ in the land of Bengalis. In November last year, Mamata Banerjee urged people to ‘resist outsiders’. She remarked, “If some goons from outside come to our state and terrorise you, all of you should unite and resist them. I promise we will stand by you. We believe in peace. But few people come to the state only during the elections to terrorise others. We won’t allow them to have a free run here.”
In December last year, she again reignited the debate around ‘Bengali vs Outsider.’ She said, “Remember, BJP is not a party of Bengal but it is a party of Delhi and Gujarat. They should return to those states. Don’t trust the BJP or believe them. If you want to fight elections in Bengal, do it without bringing outsiders.” She continued to take potshots ahead of the election with ‘outsider jibe’ as well.
On March 21, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien attacked Home Minister Amit Shah by calling him an ‘outsider’. In a tweet, he said, “A resident of Gujarat with a resident of Madhya Pradesh by his (right) side, releases a manifesto and then makes a full speech in Hindi to create a #ShonarBangla.” His ‘outsider’ jibe was despite the fact that Derek O’ Brien himself has Irish descent and therefore Anglo-Indian.
Earlier this month, the BJP slammed the Trinamool Congress for inviting its political allies from other States to campaign for the party. “The chief minister and her nephew have been calling the BJP as an outsider. But now they are inviting other parties to Bengal to counter the BJP. Are they not outsiders? Actually, the TMC is afraid and knows very well that it is going to lose this election,” BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya emphasised.
West Bengal election scheduled from March 27
The West Bengal State Legislative polls will be conducted in 8 phases. The elections will commence from 27 and the counting will be done on May 2. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora informed that the second phase will be conducted on April 1 for 30 constituencies, followed by the 3rd Phase on April 6. The 4th phase will be conducted on April 10, followed by 5th and 65th phase on April 17 and April 23 respectively. The last phase of polls will take place on April 29.