On TMC’s martyr’s day, BJP to project killing of party workers in Bengal
Even as Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee prepared to observe martyrs’ day, her party’s biggest annual event held in the memory of 13 youth Congress workers killed in police firing in Kolkata on July 21, 1993, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal unit on Tuesday upped the ante by declaring that it would observe the day to pay homage to its workers killed in political violence.
Claiming that 124 BJP workers have been killed since the 2008 panchayat polls, Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “We have lost 38 workers since the end of the recent assembly polls. The report on post-poll violence filed at the Calcutta high court by the National Human Rights Commissions shows only the tip of the iceberg. We will hold programmes in Delhi and Bengal tomorrow to tell people that the ruling party has destroyed democracy.”
Bhattacharya alleged that Debesh Burman, a BJP worker from Raigunj in South Dinajpur district, was murdered on Monday and the body was hung by the neck from a tree. “But the police said he either died by suicide or was killed in a family dispute. The police are working in liaison with the TMC,” said Bhattacharya.
In a tweet, Bengal Congress leader Rohan Mitra claimed that Debesh Burman was a Congress worker. Referring to a tweet by the BJP’s national IT cell head Amit Malviya, Mitra wrote, “I can confirm Debesh Burman was a Congress worker, our @IYCWestBengal district president Tushar Guha is already there, he will be sharing more information shortly. @amitmalviya is a liar.”
Mamata Banerjee was a Youth Congress leader in 1993 and led an agitation on July 21 the same year against the then Left Front government. Over the years, the martyr’s day rally has emerged as a symbol of the TMC’s struggle since its birth in 1998 and serves as a platform from where Banerjee sends out messages and declares future plans.
Held at Esplanade in the heart of Kolkata, the martyrs’ day rally is known to be a big crowd puller but like last year it will be held virtually because of the pandemic.
Banerjee will address people on social media and giant screens will be installed in public places and TMC offices across the state and, for the first time, even in Delhi and some other states. This is being seen as part of the TMC’s efforts to project Banerjee as the face of the opposition against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Bhattacharya alleged that the TMC has been using the July 21 tragedy faced by the Youth Congress for its own agenda.
“The TMC has always tried to project itself as an oppressed party but on the ground, it chocked the voice of the opposition. Tomorrow, our state president Dilip Ghosh will hold a programme at Rajghat in New Delhi while our workers will pay homage to their fallen colleagues in all the districts and Kolkata,” he said.
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said the BJP is making a farce.
“Can there be a counter martyr’s day? Our martyr’s day is a symbol of the sacrifices made by party workers. The BJP is making a futile attempt to draw public attention,” said Ghosh.