Kolkata: "We will turn her into a big zero" and "Mamata key amra udhvav korey chharbo (In coming days we will uproot Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal)" - screamed Indian Secular Front (ISF) leader Abbas Siddiqui as he shared the stage with Leftists doyens and senior Congress leaders for the Left-Congress-ISF rally at the historic and spacious Brigade Ground here. "Aajkey Banglar ei sadhinata key kerechhey ei Mamata (This is the same Mamata Banerjee who has deprived Bengal its freedom)," said Abbas Siddiqui amid cheers by the large gathering. Most Left and Congress leaders helplessly gave Abbas Siddiqui a patient hearing though in the past most of them if not all had done some business with Mamata Banerjee one way or the other. The ISF is a newly launched political outfit in poll-bound Bengal and is known for trying to cater to the interests of the Muslims, who form a substantial 30 per cent voters in Trinamool Congress-ruled state. The 34-year-old ISF chief patron Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui is a greenhorn in electoral politics but his family has been associated Furfura Sharif in Hooghly district, one of the holiest Mazars - often taken as second only to Ajmer Sharif. The ISF's entry into the fray has made this year's poll equation quite complex as good show by this newly floated party could mark a significant impact on the vote share and Muslim support base of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. Ms Banerjee has earned ridicule from various quarters in the state following her open appeasement policies towards Muslims. Notably, the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi also rather secretly had a meeting with Abbas Siddiqui. Hence his rhetoric makes a lot of sense as most of what the ISF leader said was directed against Trinamool Congress and its omnipotent supremo Mamata. Abbas Siddiqui further said, "This is the same Mamata who has taken away the rights of Bengal women.....We will turn her into a big zero". Though he targeted the BJP, which has emerged as a dominant force in the state in the last two years, Abbas's motive was clear that he wants the ouster of Mamata Banerjee. However, he said had the Left-ISF had been announced earlier, he could have brought a larger crowd for the Brigade Ground show. "People of West Bengal are aggrieved, anguished and fed up with the Mamata Banerjee government. For last so many years, she has shown and abused the government apparatus and threatened the people. But we need not fear Didimoni any more," said Siddiqui adding her powers have been already taken away by the Election Commission. "Please remember after a month entire Bengal will go out of Mamata's grip....," said Siddiqui, adding "We (Left-Congress-ISF) will capture Bengal in days to come". Siddiqui, however, sounded his displeasure with Congress leaders for failure so far to finalise seat-sharing agreement and said, "We have come for seeking our genuine rights and not come for any appeasement of anyone". The Left agreed to leave 30 seats for Siddiqui's party as part of the Left-Congress-ISF alliance. Speaking on the occasion among others, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the large turnout has made him believe that the front will do well. But he also remained sceptical about the turnout not transforming into votes and urged the entire gathering to exercise their franchise on the voting day(s). West Bengal is going for eight phase polls beginning March 27.
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In a major development, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is expected to the probe into four cases of targeted Killings in Kashmir, including the killing of ML Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit and pharmacist. The other three cases include the killings of Virendra Paswan, Supinder Kaur, and Deepak Chand. In addition, the killing of two non-local labourers in Kulgam will also be probed by the Central agency. According to sources, the NIA is looking into the role of Pakistan and is looking ...