After union home minister P. Chidambaram expressed "concern" over the law and order situation in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused the Congress of using pressure tactics to garner support for UPA's presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
"Why is he (Chidambaram) questioning the law and order situation in Bengal now? The situation has been bad here for long. Many people, including BJP workers, have been killed in political clashes in the state," BJP's national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said in Koklata.
"The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) is trying to pressurise the Trinamool Congress to get support for Mukherjee. Why was Chidambaram silent when there was firing in Nandigram... He is raising security concern now because of the forthcoming presidential poll," Hussain added.
Chidambaram during his visit here Thursday said that 82 people had been killed in about 455 inter-party clashes in the last six months and that it was not a "sign of democracy" in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state.
Trinamool is a major ally of the Congress-led UPA at the centre; however, its chief Mamata Banerjee is opposed to Mukherjee as the coalition's nominee for the president's post.
The criticism by the union home minister evoked sharp response from Banerjee who shot off a letter to Chidambaram, saying that the figures provided by him on the number of deaths in inter-party clashes in the state were "incorrect."
Hussain demanded the UPA presidential candidate come clean on the issue of his resignation as the chairman of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).
"We still believe that Mukherjee's signature on his resignation letter as ISI chairman is fabricated which warrants immediate investigation," he said.
"Why did Pawan Bansal (parliamentary affairs minister) and Chidambaram seek two days' time to reply when our presidential candidate PA Sangma raised the issue," Hussain asked.
The BJP spokesperson was also critical of Mukherjee's role as the country's finance minister.
"Mukherjee has been made the presidential candidate not because of his performance, but for his non-performance as the finance minister. The Congress regarded him as a liability and is relieved now that he is gone," Hussain said.