Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doing politics over the blood of the slain CRPF troopers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, and claimed that the Centre had “prior information” of the February 14 Pulwama terror strike. She was addressing the Trinamool Congress’ extended core committee meeting here on Monday.

Condoling the death of 40 paramilitary troopers in the Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed terror strike on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, Banerjee questioned why nearly 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were not airlifted and instead allowed to travel in a convoy without “proper sanitisation and naka-checking” of the route.

“Modi-babu, where were you when the attack took place? You had prior information. You knew it would happen. The Central government had intelligence inputs about it. Then why were the jawans not airlifted? Why was there no naka-checking and sanitisation of the convoy route?” the Trinamool Congress chief asked.

“Why were the troopers left to die? Is it because you wanted to politicise the matter before the elections? The blood of our jawans should not be politicised in this way,” she added.

Banerjee said Modi had been pretending to be a “messenger of peace”, while his party was secretly trying to start riots and create a war-like situation in the country.

She claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might tamper with the electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the Lok Sabha elections to manipulate votes in its favour.

Referring to BJP President Amit Shah’s plans to win 23 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, Banerjee said the saffron outfit may only achieve its ambition by tampering with the EVMs, not otherwise.

“I have heard they’ve contacted a private company to manipulate EVMs in Bengal as well. We will not let that happen. We need to train our workers on how the EVMs and VVPATs work. Depute only those who are trained in these during the counting of votes,” she said.

The Chief Minister has formed a three-member committee comprising senior party leaders Dinesh Trivedi, Sougata Roy and Partha Chatterjee to train booth-level workers in the use of EVMs and VVPAT machines.

Banerjee said her party must work hard to ensure victory in all the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

“We must win all 42 Lok Sabha seats from Bengal. This is not just a statement. We have to make this a reality. I do not care what the Congress or CPI-M are doing. The Left has always aligned with those in power at the Centre,” she said.

Banerjee also accused the Modi government of misusing central agencies and spending money earmarked for Central projects on propaganda. She urged her partymen to become more active to stop practices like votes in exchange for cash dole-outs to the rural poor.