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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

With invite for families of killed BJP workers, PM Modi sends message to Mamata

The families of BJP workers killed in political violence Lok Sabha elections in the last few years in have been invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister.

india Updated: May 29, 2019 12:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Midnapore/Kolkata
The eastern state has witnessed political violence in the panchayat election held in 2018 polls as well as during the Lok Sabha election this year.
The eastern state has witnessed political violence in the panchayat election held in 2018 polls as well as during the Lok Sabha election this year.(PTI FILE)

Family members of 50 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters killed in West Bengal over the past few years have been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

“The victim families have been randomly chosen from the list of BJP supporters who became victims of the ruling party in Bengal. The focus has been those who were killed since the panchayat elections in 2018,” said Jay Prakash Majumdar, vice-president of the Bengal unit of the BJP.

“They have started for Delhi on Wednesday. The party is taking care of the travel, stay and other expenditure of all those who have been invited for the ceremony,” added Majumdar.

The invitation is seen as a snub to Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress who are often blamed by BJP leaders for attacks on their workers to halt the party’s march in the state.

In the run up to elections held in Bengal over seven phases due to fear of violence, PM Modi had repeatedly accused Mamata Banerjee of giving her party’s goons a free run and reducing democracy to what he termed as ‘goondacracy’, rule by goons. The violence had also figured prominently in PM Modi’s victory speeches in Delhi and Varanasi where he recalled the sacrifices made by BJP workers in Bengal.

Also Read | Ahead of PM’s grand swearing-in, a key 4-hour Modi-Shah meeting

It is not clear if news of the invitation would impact Mamata Banerjee’s plan to come to Delhi for the grand swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Banerjee had yesterday told reporters that he would try to come to Delhi for the oath event since it was a ceremonial programme. She had skipped PM Modi’s first oath ceremony in 2014 and instead deputed two representatives.

Among those invited are Yadav Sahis, resident of Arsha area in Purulia district. On April 18, the body of his son, Sishupal Sahis, was found hanging state in the village with BJP leaders alleging that he was killed by Trinamool Congress-backed miscreants and subsequently hanged.

“I have been told that the BJP national leaders want us to be present in the ceremony of the Prime Minister. In the Lok Sabha elections, the people have defeated the party who workers killed my son,” said Sahis.

Sukhmay Satpathi, BJP district president in Jhargram area, said there are three families in his area who lost members to attacks of the Trinamool Congress supporters in the past five years.

Also Read | ‘Trinamool govt in Bengal will fall by 2021’: BJP leader

“Members of these families will be present in the oath taking ceremony. We were instructed over phone from our party leaders to convey the message that they were invited to be programme,” said Satpathi.

Bidyasagar Chakrabarti, the BJP district president in Purulia said the leaders of the party are going to pay respect to those who were killed by Trinamool Congress supporters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won 18 out of West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, a remarkable improvement over the two seats that the party had won in 2014. The ruling Trinamool Congress has been left with 22 seats, down from 34.

First Published: May 29, 2019 11:18 IST

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