“Aagli baar Bangla,” BJP president Amit Shah announced before the media on Wednesday, a day after he kicked off ‘booth chalo’ abhiyan in Naxalbari.
The BJP president remarked that they have replaced the Left and other opposition parties to emerge as the second largest force in Bengal and will win most of the Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019. “Can’t you see that Mamata Didi is suffering from BJP-phobia and speaking only against the BJP these days? Trinamool is helping us grow,” Shah said at the Kolkata Press Club.
Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats, out of which Trinamool won 34 in 2014. “Our workers will visit every household and connect with voters. The lotus will bloom in Bengal,” he added.
From the Narada sting operation to Saradha chit fund scam and from “appeasement” of the religious minority to rising state debt, Shah used each and every issue that has caused anxiety for the ruling party in recent times.
“When the Left was ousted, we expected some positive change in Bengal. But all we have seen is rise in corruption, downfall of industry, appeasement in the name of politics and curb on Hindu religious festivals,” he said.
“In some parts of Bengal, people can’t perform Saraswati puja and have to seek police permission for Durga puja immersion. Bomb making is the only thriving industry while the rest have downed shutters,” alleged Shah. “Appeasement is the sole reason behind recent incidents of communal violence at Kaliachak and Howrah,” he added. He even alleged that fake Indian currency notes smuggled into India from Bangladesh was distributed and circulated in Bengal. “What is the state police doing?” asked Shah, ducking a question on the apparent failure of the BJP to stop such smuggling.
Reeling off statistics, Shah said when the Left was in power, Bengal’s loan burden was Rs 1,92,000 crore and the figure was now standing at Rs 3,50,000 crore. Shah dished out a string of figures to show that Bengal was doing worse than most states even after receiving financial grants and aids from the Centre under different heads.
Trinamool Congress reacted without wasting much time. “Agriculture growth - India 1.1%, Bengal - 6% Service India 9% Bengal 13.99% Industry growth - India 7% Bengal 10%,” twitted the party on its official handle.
“BJP is jealous of development in non-BJP ruled state. That is why they are depriving Bengal of funds,” Trinamool Congress twitted quoting Mamata Banerjee.
Reacting to Shah’s statement, CPI(M) Lok Sabha MP and Politburo member Md Salim said: “Amit Shah must remember that Naxalbari in Darjeeling, the village from where he started his tour on Tuesday, voted for the Left.”
Asked about the Trinamool’s allegation that the CBI probe into Narada sting tapes is a “political conspiracy,” Shah said, “Trinamool leaders were seen on video accepting money. How can that be a conspiracy? The CBI investigation in based on evidence and it was ordered by the Supreme Court. I don’t give orders to CBI.”