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Lok Sabha elections: ‘Mood in Bengal is for change,’ says BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma

A file photo of Assam minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma. | Himanta Biswa Sarma/Twitter

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday that West Bengal is “fed up with rule of Trinamool Congress” and is in the mood for an overall change. Sarma also said that the state will throw up a “big surprise” in the Lok Sabha elections.

Sarma leads one of the 20 teams that Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah deployed with a special focus on West Bengal. Sarma was present at Shah’s roadshow on Tuesday in Kolkata where violence was reported near Vidyasagar College hostel.

“Here [in West Bengal] you will see it is a total criminalisation of politics,” Sarma, Assam’s finance and public works department minister, told the Hindustan Times in an interview. “Everywhere, there will be one mastaan [goon] who will control one area... I think people are fed up with the appeasement kind of politics and I am sure that Bengal is heading for a big surprise.”

Sarma also claimed that the “right-thinking people” from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are voting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that the election result will depend upon whether the impact of rigging or voting is higher. The BJP leader also claimed that the Congress has disappeared from West Bengal, except in two constituencies –
Jangipur and Berhampore.

After May 23, when the Lok Sabha election results will be announced, Bengal politics would be “a straightforward match between the TMC and BJP”, Sarma said, adding that Bengal will help the BJP win more seats in the ongoing elections. “I will be very conservative and I will say the number will be 20, give or take 10%,” he told the newspaper. “That will be my own assessment but part cadre here have said that it will not be less than 22.”

The convener of the North East Democratic Alliance claimed that voters’ identity cards were being confiscated before polling commenced and people were being threatened to vote for the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. “They say until you vote for the TMC, you will not get these identity cards back,” Sarma said.

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Sarma claimed updating the National Register of Citizens without the Citizenship Amendment Bill has caused problems for Hindu refugees who came from Bangladesh. “Although through appeals, claims and objections, the Supreme Court is trying to mitigate the sufferings of the people. But still Hindu people are suffering... It is a major suffering,” he said.

Sarma said that passing the bill would give citizenship to Hindu, Christian, Buddhist minorities while the NRC could weed out illegal migrants.

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