Lok Sabha elections: ‘I will visit Sandeshkhali when…’ — here is what Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said in Basirhat

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Amid criticism that the chief minister did not find it necessary to visit Sandeshkhali in West Bengal despite massive protests by local women over alleged sexual atrocities, CM and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would visit the region “within a few days”. “As soon as our candidate Haji Nurul wins Basirhat, my first visit will be to Sandeshkhali within a few days. I will go to meet the people there,” she said.  

During her first visit to the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency since the Sandeshkhali unrest in January, Mamata Banerjee said she was heartbroken over the plight of women in the trouble-torn area.

While addressing an election rally in Basirhat, she also asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should not have played with the dignity of women in Sandeshkhali as the “saffron camp’s conspiracy now stands exposed”. 

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“I am sorry for whatever has happened to the women of Sandeshkhali and the way they have been humiliated. I express my sadness from the core of my heart. Nobody should dare to play with the dignity of women,” said the West Bengal chief minister.

“People would have never understood how the BJP had hatched the conspiracy, had the videos not surfaced. The BJP should not play with the dignity of women,” Banerjee said 

Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talking to Sandeshkhali protester and BJP candidate Rekha Patra over the phone, Banerjee alleged that the country has the “worst track record in terms of women’s safety and security under the BJP rule”. 

The Trinamool Congress chief’s comments came against the backdrop of multiple purported videos surfacing on social media, which claimed that a local BJP leader made several women of Sandeshkhali sign blank papers, which were later filled up as complaints of sexual assault against TMC leaders.

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Sandeshkhali area, situated on the borders of the Sundarbans, about 100 kilometres from Kolkata, has been on the boil since February with protests over allegations of sexual abuse and land grab against now-arrested TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his supporters. 

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi can call up anyone he wants. He had called up someone (Rekha Patra) from the area. But he should not forget the dismal track record of the BJP government regarding women’s safety and security in the country. The BJP-ruled state Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of cases of assault on women,” the chief minister said.

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Published: 21 May 2024, 06:52 PM IST

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