Drive out BJP the way Jharkhand did: Mamata Banerjee
A day after attending the swearing-in ceremony of Jharkhand’s new chief minister Hemant Soren, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged people all across the country to isolate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the way it was in West Bengal’s neighbouring state.
In quick retaliation, the BJP’s Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh alleged at a rally in South 24 Parganas district that Banerjee was using tax-payers’ money for the welfare of infiltrators from Bangladesh and hence opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Addressing her first rally in Purulia town after her Trinamool Congress lost the local Lok Sabha seat to the BJP earlier this year, the chief minister condemned the amended citizenship law and the proposed the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“These have been designed to rob people of the roof above their head, their address and their identity,” she said
“The BJP talks of protecting Hindus but in Assam, more than a million Hindus were excluded from NRC. An 18-year-old student can cast his vote but cannot stage an agitation, says the BJP. Drive them out the moment you get the first opportunity,” she said.
After addressing the gathering in the heart of Purulia town, Banerjee led a roadshow that witnessed large footfall. People crowded by the roadside as the rally passed.
In his counter-rally in Baruipur, the BJP’s Dilip Ghosh picked up the issue of infiltrators to launch an attack on Mamata Banerjee.
“In Bengal, Malda witnessed maximum arson and destruction of railway property and in Uttar Pradesh, four among the arsonists arrested were residents of Malda. Is Didi (Mamata) sending ruffians from Malda to other states? These people are all infiltrators from Bangladesh because an Indian national will not destroy his country’s property,” Ghosh said.
“There are 10 million Bangladeshi infiltrators in Bengal. Didi shields them and provides welfare to them with money collected from tax-payers,” said Ghosh.
The BJP’s leaders also held an internal meeting in Kolkata and decided to go door-to-door to create public awareness on CAA. They will also intensify the campaign in all the districts of the eastern state as political polarisation is stronger in rural belts.
Monday witnessed agitation against, as well as in support of, the citizenship screening in several districts. Activists of political parties and police scuffled in Cooch Behar and South 24 Parganas districts.
Before his rally, the TMC’s supporters chased Ghosh’s convoy and clashed with the police. In a similar incident, buses used by the BJP’s supporters at a rally in Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar district in north Bengal were ransacked.
In Kolkata, state minister Rajib Banerjee addressed a meeting held by Hindu priests. Students from several colleges in the city organised rallies against CAA and condemned police action at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.