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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Bengal violence continues as Mamata hits out at BJP

The war of words between the rivals escalated with reports of two more murders and arson on Tuesday, taking the death count in the continuing post-poll violence to seven.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2019 07:50 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Kolkata/Midnapore
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee addresses Eid prayers during the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr at Red Road in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee addresses Eid prayers during the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr at Red Road in Kolkata on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)
         

Twelve days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) increased its Lok Sabha tally in West Bengal from two to 18, chief minister Mamata Banerjee fuelled the turf war between her Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP, taunting her rivals and threatening that whoever dared to take her on would be crushed in a speech at the Eid namaaz gathering on Red Road on Wednesday.

Head covered in keeping with the occasion, Banerjee said, “When the sun rises, it is initially very hot. But it cools down fast. The manner in which they tampered with electronic voting machines (EVMs), it is certain that they will also go down very soon.”

Jo humse takrayega, choor choor ho jayega,” she added, suggesting that whoever took her on would be shattered to smithereens. Amid cheers, she assured the few thousands gathered for Eid prayers that “we will fight all battles together.” She added, “If you feel scared, you are dead. Those who fight together, ultimately succeed.” BJP’s Bengal unit general secretary Sayantan Basu made short shrift of Banerjee’s remarks. “She has finally realised that her Trinamool Congress is losing its foothold in Bengal, so she is making wild allegations about EVMs.”

The war of words between the rivals escalated with reports of two more murders and arson on Tuesday, taking the death count in the continuing post-poll violence to seven.

On Tuesday evening, local Trinamool leader Nirmal Kundu, 40, was shot dead by three motorcycle-borne men in Nimta in North 24 Parganas district. Suman Kundu, a BJP worker, was arrested after local TMC workers torched his home and alleged he was behind the killing. “BJP-backed goons killed Nirmal,” claimed Sougata Roy, Trinamool MP from Dum Dum. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh claimed, “Miscreants in Trinamool Congress are killing each other. They are dragging our name into their infighting.” The chief minister will visit Nimta on Thursday.

On Tuesday night, tension prevailed in Joypur in Bankura district when villagers found the body of Saiful Islam Middya, 32, beside a pond. Shyamal Santra, TMC local unit president, alleged that Saiful was a party supporter and BJP workers had murdered him. The victim’s family, however, told police that he had no political affiliation. Local BJP leader Sailen Mandal said, “The crime has nothing to do with politics.”

WAR OVER SLOGANS

The ongoing war over slogans offered some comic relief. Trinamool supporters allegedly flooded the WhatsApp inbox of BJP’s Asansol MP Babul Supriyo, state president Dilip Ghosh and the party’s Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh with the slogans “Jai Hind” and “Jai Bangla”. This followed a row over Banerjee’s aggressive opposition to the chanting of “Jai Shri Ram”.

Earlier, Singh had asked party workers to mail one million post cards with “Jai Shri Ram” written on them to Banerjee’s Kalighat home. In retaliation, TMC supporters are distributing postcards hailing the nation and Bengal and addressing them to the Prime Minister. The latest entrant in the slogan war is Kali, the Hindu goddess who kills evil. Last week, when Banerjee said her party would counter BJP’s “Jai Shri Ram” slogan with the “Jai Hind” and “Jai Bangla” slogans, her party leaders asked if BJP leaders would chant “Jai Maa Kali” in praise of one of Bengal’s most popular deities.