Trinamool Congress on Monday launched an offensive on the Bharatiya Janata Party in Parliament and held a rally in Kolkata to counter the saffron party president Amit Shah's criticism of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday.
Facing heat over the Saradha scam, Trinamool targeted the BJP inside as well as outside Parliament by alleging that a diary of jailed Sahara group chief Subrata Roy contained the name of a senior leader of the saffron party, leading to clashes and a walkout.
Placard-wielding Trinamool MPs held a demonstration outside Parliament demanding a probe into alleged links between Shah and the Sahara money laundering case.
Trinamool sought to corner the ruling party in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by displaying symbolic red diaries.
The Trinamool members alleged the diary was recovered from Sahara chief Subrata Roy by the Central Bureau of Investigation during searches at Sahara's office and claimed it contained the name of a BJP leader.
Attack in Parliament
In Lok Sabha, Trinamool MPs rushed to the Well shouting slogans, carrying red-coloured diaries which had "Sahara" written on it. They demanded that PM Modi should explain what action the CBI has taken after the name allegedly figured in the diary. They later staged a walkout.
Bandyopadhyay had given a notice for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue which was rejected by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
"They (Trinamool MPs) have decided not to follow the rules," she said.
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said according to rules no member can name anyone who is not a member of the House. They also cannot display placards, he said.
To this, the Speaker said the name of the BJP leader would not go on record.
After protesting for a few minutes, the Trinamool MPs staged a walkout.
Minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju, however, denied the presence of the "red diary".
"These are political allegations. There is no truth in it. No such diary was recovered," Rijiju told reporters in Delhi.
Later, BJP member Kirit Somaiya hit back, alleging that the Trinamool government in West Bengal was creating "hurdles" in the CBI investigation into the Saradha chit fund scam, in which names of "one dozen" Trinamool leaders have cropped up.
This led to protests by Trinamool members but Somaiya went on saying that 3.5 lakh small investors had been cheated in the chit fund scheme.
"The state government is not cooperating with the CBI probe," he alleged.
Amid noisy scenes, the Speaker adjourned the House for lunch, ahead of schedule.
In Rajya Sabha, Trinamool's Derek O'Brien sought to raise the issue during Zero Hour and Question Hour but was disallowed.
He had earlier given a notice for suspension of Question Hour but was not allowed.
As O'Brien rose to raise the issue during Question Hour, BJP members shouted him down by raising the issue of Saradha chit fund scam.
The members flashed symbolic red diaries with Sahara written on them, and tried to storm the well of the upper house as well to press their demand.
Trinamool members later staged a walkout as they were disallowed from raising the issue.
Counter-rally in Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee's nephew and Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha MP, Abhisekh Banerjee, said the West Bengal chief minister does not want to respond to Shah as she believes "he is not of her stature".
Mamata cancelled an appearance at the rally held by Abhishek to counter Shah's allegations levelled against her by Shah.
Speaking almost from the same spot where Shah delivered his Sunday speech, Abhisekh attacked the BJP and PM Modi saying he has done nothing for West Bengal after coming to power.
Abhisekh mocked Modi by comparing him with his aunt saying while he flies in private jets, goes abroad and changes wardrobe frequently, Mamata stays in a small house, wears handloom sarees and chappals.
Without naming Shah, he said those who come to Bengal like migratory birds, address a rally and return to Delhi will not win elections in the state.
Abhisekh also alleged Union minister of law and justice Sadanand Gowda's assets jumped from Rs 9 crore to Rs 20 crore in three months, and BJP must explain it.
Shah on Sunday had sounded the poll bugle to oust Trinamool from the state in the 2015 Kolkata Municipal Corporation and 2016 assembly elections and called for a Trinamool-free Bengal.
The BJP's rise in Bengal has sparked speculations about new equations in the state's political arena where the saffron brigade was only a fringe player until recently.
However, banking on Modi's poll promises on development, the party bagged an impressive 16.8% vote share in the April-May Lok Sabha elections. Even though the BJP won just two of the 42 seats, it made an impact.
Frequent clashes between BJP and Trinamool supporters have been reported in West Bengal since the polls.
The BJP chief's address came at a time when the ruling Trinamool is reeling under graft allegations in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam and the Burdwan blasts on October 2 that killed two alleged militants from Bangladesh.
Addressing the rally that saw a crowd of two lakh people, Shah had attacked Banerjee over the Saradha case, terrorist activities as well as lack of development in the state.
The TMC on Sunday had refused to attach much importance to Shah's rally and described it as a 'grand flop show'.
The city police, West Bengal fire department and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation had denied permission for the event at the Victoria House, where the ruling Trinamool usually organises its annual martyrs' day rally.
An intervention by the Calcutta high court saw the BJP getting the nod only at the eleventh hour.