Kolkata/New Delhi, June 10 (PTI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the Centre and the BJP of engineering violence to topple her government, a charge dismissed by the saffron party which observed a “Black Day” in the state to protest the killing of its workers.
The BJP said it would not demand President’s rule in West Bengal even though “a lawless situation prevails” in the state as Banerjee would then seek sympathy votes, and vowed to “defy” her ban on its political programmes, including victory processions
Amid spiralling post-poll violence in the state, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah in the national capital and apprised them of the situation in the state.
Unhappy with the Union Home Ministry advisory, Banerjee stepped up attack on the Centre, saying the violence was a “planted game” and rubbished speculation in the media about early polls in the state.
“The central government and (BJP) party cadres are trying to incite violence in West Bengal..we will not let Bengal turn into another Gujarat,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat in Kolkata.
Her Trinamool Congress wrote a letter to Shah in which it objected to the Home Ministry’s advisory to the state government and termed it a “deep-rooted conspiracy” and an “evil ploy to grab power” in opposition-ruled states.
The BJP took out rallies in Kolkata and elsewhere, and held a shutdown in Basirhat on Monday, as they observed a “Black Day” to protest against the killing of its workers and the alleged “deteriorating” law-and-order situation in West Bengal.
Going hammer and tongs against the BJP, Banerjee alleged that after winning Lok Sabha election and with encouragement from some central leaders, the saffron party was trying to incite violence in Darjeeling and also in Jangalmahal as a part of a conspiracy and advised the BJP “not to play with the fire.”
Banerjee saw the MHA issuing an advisory to the state as part of the “games played from behind”.
She contested BJP’s claim of five deaths in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district and asserted that two persons were killed during Saturday’s violence. She alleged that the BJP was spreading fake news and accused the media of “insulting” the state by disseminating wrong information at the behest of the saffron party.
Post-poll clashes between the ruling TMC and workers of resurgent BJP have turned out to be another flashpoint between the two parties which had fiercely attacked each other other during the bitter general election campaign. Assembly polls are due in 2021 and the BJP leaders, buoyed by their stupendous Lok Sabha election performance, are asserting the TMC rule would end after state election.
The TMC supremo claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to throttle her voice as she was the only one in the country to protest against them.
BJP made a big leap winning 18 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, only four less than TMC out of a total of 42 seats.
“They (BJP) are spending crores and crores of money to spread fake news through different social networking websites.
“This (inciting violence in West Bengal) is a planted game. This is their game plan to throttle my voice, because they know that Mamata Banerjee is the only person in the country to raise voice against them. This conspiracy to bring down our government will not succeed,” the Trinamool Congress chief said.
“I will advice them (BJP) not to play with fire. We will not bow down to their conspiracy and will ask people to remain calm and quiet,” she added.
Banerjee said the Centre also had an equal responsibility as the state government in case any violence or riot took place in any state.
The Centre had expressed “deep concern” on Sunday in its advisory, saying the “unabated violence” even after the Lok Sabha polls appeared to be a failure on the part of the state government.
Banerjee said that there were a few police officers in some areas in the state who were not taking proper action against people trying to incite hooliganism in West Bengal and the administration would take “proper action” against them to find out whether there was any “game” behind their inactiveness.
BJP leader Mukul Roy Monday demanded Banerjee’s resignation, saying she has failed to maintain law and order in the state.
Roy, however, maintained that “even though a lawless situation prevails in the state, BJP would never work towards dismissing the government or imposing President’s Rule as Banerjee would seek sympathy votes if her government is overthrown through imposition of Article 356”.
The situation remained tense in the Basirhat subdivision of North 24 Parganas district following the clashes in Sandeshkhali on Saturday, which claimed lives of three workers — two from the BJP and one of the Trinamool Congress.
Both the parties claimed that some of their workers were still missing, though the administration denied any such claim. Shutters were down in most of the shops and establishments during the 12-hour bandh in Basirhat, around 70 km from Kolkata. The BJP took out protest rallies in the subdivision and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.
After meeting the prime minister and the home minister for the first time after the Lok Sabha elections, Governor Tripathi said, “I have apprised the prime minister and the home minister about the situation in West Bengal. I can’t disclose details”.