North Bengal firing: Instigation theory and conspiracy dominate Modi-Mamata slugfest
Referring to the murder of first-time voter Ananda Barman in Sitalkuchu the same day, the Bengal CM said BJP supports had killed their own man.
NEW DELHI: Two days after the Cooch Behar incident, Mamata Banerjee on Monday sought to give it a fresh twist, saying PM Modi was aware of the Central forces’ action even before it took place.
Modi, in his speech in Burdwan, countered it by accusing her of instigating TMC workers against the forces.
“Before the polling in Cooch Behar, local BJP leaders hatched a conspiracy with the superintendent of police. The firing took place under the instruction of the Union Home minister and the Prime Minister was aware of it. After coming to power, I will conduct a probe into it and the culprits will be punished,’’ said Mamata, while addressing a rally in Ranaghat, Nadia.
She also showed a piece of paper and claimed she already got the names of the CISF personnel who opened fire at Sitalkuchi on April 10.
Referring to the murder of first-time voter Ananda Barman in Sitalkuchu the same day, the Bengal CM said BJP supports had killed their own man.
She wondered what kind of human beings are politicians who say that there will be more Sitalkuchi-like incidents and that the death toll there should have been higher.
“Some political leaders are threatening of more Sitalkuchi-like incidents, while others are saying that the death toll should have been higher. I am stunned and shocked to see such reactions. What are these leaders up to? They should be politically banned,” Banerjee told an election rally at Ranaghat in Nadia district.
She raked up the isuue at a meeting at Basirhat.
“A BJP leader is saying not four but eight persons should have been shot dead point blank range by central forces. I wonder why his comments are not censured by EC.”
“Is he not inciting violence. A party like BJP which can make such statement should not be voted to power,” she said.
At Ranaghat Banerjee alleged that the BJP is killing its own workers and leaders and damaging their vehicles “to bring a bad name to the TMC”.
“Before conspiring to kill four persons in CISF firing, the BJP, a party of murderers, killed a Rajbongshi brother,” she said.
Apart from the four people who were killed in CISF firing, another man was shot dead outside a polling booth by unidentified persons in Sitalkuchi constituency.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has alleged that Banerjee paid tributes only to the four persons killed in CISF firing because they were from the minority community.
Accusing the BJP of communalising the murder of young voters on polling day, Banerjee said, “You cannot succeed in your nefarious game to divide the people of West Bengal. This is not Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat.”
Alleging that Shah had hatched the conspiracy of Cooch Behar killings with the full knowledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the feisty TMC leader said, “After returning to power I will order a probe to unravel the sequence of events, who were involved, how it all started, whether any rumour was at play, everything.”
She urged people not to vote for a party that encourages “firing on voters standing in a queue”.
“One of the BJP MPs contesting the assembly poll has herself damaged the windscreen of her car to give a bad name to the TMC,” she said in an apparent reference to an incident in which the car of saffron party leader Locket Chatterjee was damaged during a TMC protest in Chunchura assembly seat.
Banerjee lambasted Modi for “faking” his love for Dalits when in reality committing atrocities on them.
“Modi and Yogi (UP CM) don’t you both feel ashamed for the attacks on Dalits in states like UP? Have you forgotten Hathras (incident) where a Dalit girl was raped and burnt and her father killed? Have you forgotten how Dalits are treated in your states, how they are attacked every day?,” she said.
BJP leaders talk about giving so much respect to Dalits.
But this is only for public consumption to get votes as in reality they never give Dalits due respect, she said.
The TMC supremo said she is a Brahmin by birth and a devout Hindu who knows the scriptures by heart but does not give importance to caste identity.
“My all time companion is a backward caste woman who cooks for me. I don’t advertise that by posing before cameras unlike some BJP leaders who bring cooked food from five star hotels for consumption at Dalit homes before camera,” she said.
Shah had on several occasions lunched in the houses of tribals and dalits in several places where he had campaigned.
“I consider myself inseparable from Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, SCs, STs, OBCs and all other communities. We don”t exclude anyone in the name of caste, community or religion. Unlike the BJP, we consider everyone as humans,” she said.
Hitting out at Modi and Amit Shah for becoming almost daily passengers to West Bengal forgetting the rest of India,” she said and Rs 100 crore is spent to covering all expenses for a public meeting by the prime minister.
“This money could have been used for the weddings of hundreds of Dalit and minority women,” she said.
Banerjee said that the TMC government in West Bengal had given land rights to people settled in refugee colonies in the state, whereas the BJP has sent 14 lakh Bengalis in Assam to detention camps.
“The same fate may await you if they (BJP) come to power in West Bengal,” she told the audience.
Banerjee alleged that the prime minister is “intentionally disturbing her. My helicopter is not being allowed to land at many places which are booked in the last minute for PM’s election meeting forcing us (TMC) to alter our schedules which were decided earlier.”
Taking umbrage at Modi addressing her as “Didi o Didi” she said “the way he is cracking a joke it looks like he is a young man making passes at a woman of the locality. This is below standard. I know many things about you – Modi and Shah. But I have the dignity not to stoop so low,” she said.
“I am forced to say that someone who did not give due recognition to the women in his life can crack such jokes In contrast you know my relationship with my late mother,” said Banerjee, who is known to have shared a very close bond with her mother said.
At a meeting in Dumdum in the city, an erstwhile Red citadel, Banerjee said “BJP leaders can murder with a smile on their faces while eating rasogolla”.
The chief minister said she is ready to send misti doi (famed sweet yogurt of Bengal) , mango from Malda, delicacies like narkel naru (sweets made from cocoanut) to Modi as a courtesy, as we are hospitable. But we cannot give you Bengal. We won’t allow you to create Gujarat or UP in Bengal.”
Iterating her charge against the EC for acting in a partisan manner, she said “With folded hands I tell the EC please do not listen to BJP. Listen to all if you are not a partial body.”
Banerjee said EC had removed several police and state officials just before the polls in the state and appointed officials as instructed by BJP.
“As per the established procedures and traditions you (EC) are wrong. You didnt seek our views while removing our DIG, SPs and others,” she said and alleged that There may be a plan to murder me.”
The TMC supremo said she had asked Modi to sit face to face with her in an open forum of debate but the PM did not take up the offer.
About Modi’s comments that she has not done much for members of Matua community in the state, Banerjee said that if it is proved true she will resign.
Ask members of the (Matua) community (about programmes taken up by her) But If Modi babu is proved to have lied, what will he do? she said.
“I sanctioned a railway station, set up Harichand Thakur Guruchand College, Matua Development Board and Namasudra Board among others. What about him? His only contribution seems to be to visit Bangladesh during vote. Why did he go to he went to Orakandi?” Modi had visited the Thakur Bari temple at Orakandi in Bangladesh during his visit on March 27 to reach out to the Matuas, who form a large vote bank in several districts.
Banerjee said while the TMC government announced holidays for all festivals and birthdays of leaders, the Modi government has failed to do so for birthdays of Netaji and Rabindra Nath Tagore.
“I am ashamed. We never had such a PM in our country before,” she said.
Banerjee categorically denied that she had turned away heavy industry from Singur, a key issue in this state election.
“As promised we had returned farm land at Singur. Till this date those who have lost their land to the small car factory) are getting allowances.”
She blamed Modi for the poor rate of vaccination for COVID-19.
“I had told the PM to help us in our endeavour to vaccinate everyone. I had written a letter to him expressing the state’s readiness to buy vaccines for every resident of state. But he did not respond.”
The TMC chief blamed Modi and Shah for the closure and sale of PSUs and said “The Rafael scam will also be unravelled one day.
Modi, on the other hand, hit out at the CM and said: “Didi, in your speech you instigated your workers. You asked your supporters to gherao Central force personnel. Was it to cast false votes by confining Central forces? The firing was a result of your instigation.”
Modi sought Dalit votes and targeted the Trinamool for allegedly ignoring the community. “Your karyakartas described Dalits as beggars and you have not yet condemned it. It is an insult to the backward community. No one gives you the right to insult a community. This section of voters will give you a befitting reply in this election,’’ said Modi.
Dalits form 23 per cent of the total electorate in the state and they are the deciding factors in at least 35 Assembly constituencies, spread both in north and south Bengal.He said the Bengal CM was continuously attacking him. “Didi is not uttering a word about Bengal. In rallies she is uttering only Modi, Modi and Modi. Why are you so angry?’’
Home minister Amit Shah, who addressed rallies in north Bengal and held a road show in Siliguri on Monday, also condemned the Bengal chief minister for demanding his resignation on the Cooch Behar incident.
“You are asking me to step down. Didi, I am carrying my resignation letter in my pocket. The day the people of Bengal want me to resign, I will. But you should be ready to resign on May 2 (the day of results,’’ said Shah.
Modi, who is on a whirlwind election tour of the state addressed rallies in Bardhaman and Kalyani, where he came down hard on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing her of instigating people against central forces on election duty in the state.
The prime Minister also launched a blistering attack on Banerjee, saying she did not care to express regret after a “leader very close to her” called Scheduled Castes “beggars”.
“People of Bengal hit so many fours and sixes that BJP has already completed a century (of seats) in the first 4 phases of assembly polls.
They have wiped out the TMC in half the match (aadha mein poora saaf).
“People of Bengal have clean bowled Didi in Nandigram and have asked her entire team to leave the field,” he told an election rally in Bardhaman.
Mocking TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s “Ma, Mati, Manush” slogan, the prime minister said, “Tormenting ‘Ma’, looting ‘Mati’ (motherland) and bloodshed of ‘Manush’ (people) is its reality.”
Alleging that Banerjee incited people against central forces, he referred to the killing of four in the firing by CISF personnel in Cooch Behar on April 10.
“In the last 10 years Mamata Banerjee conspired to deny the scheduled castes, the poor and the deprived sections their rights through ‘chappa vote’ (rigging).”
“What happened in Cooch Behar was the consequence of this conspiracy. Victory and defeat are part of democracy but you will not be allowed to snatch away people’s right to vote,” he told another rally in Kalyani in Nadia district.
He said Banerjee’s policies have snuffed out the lives of children of countless mothers.
In both the rallies, Modi castigated Banerjee over a TMC leader and candidate’s comments against the Scheduled Castes equating them with beggars.
“Didi calls herself a Royal Bengal Tiger. You tell me is it possible for someone to say such things without her permission? Such comments hurt the soul of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. Such a seriously objectionable comment has been made but Didi hasn’t condemned it or apologised for it.”
“You have committed the biggest mistake, the biggest sin by insulting Dalits, Didi,” Modi said.
Addressing a rally in Matua dominated Kalyani, Modi said Didi didn’t like his visit to Orakandi in Bangladesh where the founder of the Matua sect and social reformer Harichand Thakur was born.
“Didi did not like my going to Orakandi in Bangladesh, she raised questions over my visit. I have come to assure you today that all refugees will get all facilities due to them, they will get justice. For the BJP, providing justice to all refugees, Matua and Namasudra brothers, is also an emotional commitment,” he said.
Matuas, originally from Bangladesh, migrated to West Bengal in large numbers after Partition and later during the war for Bangladesh’s freedom from Pakistan.
Many of them have got Indian citizenship and many not.
The TMC had objected to Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in the middle of the election campaign claiming it was designed to influence voters in West Bengal.
The prime minister alleged Banerjee’s appeasement politics hurt Matua and Namsudra communities hard and they had to pay commission to “TMC’s extortionists” even to obtain scheduled caste certificates.
Accusing Benerjee of dividing people, Modi said “Jukto koro-Seva Koro” (uniting people and serving them) is his motto.
“Didi knows Congress could not return to power once ousted, Left could not return once removed from power, you too will never be able to bounce back,” he said.
Mocking Banerjee, Modi said she had forgotten her party’s motto ‘Maa, Maati, Manush’ and is only chanting his name at public meetings.
She only created a mess in the name of governance, the prime minister said.
Referring to the recent incident of lynching of a Bihar police officer in West Bengal and the death of his mother from shock which led to their funeral pyres being lit together, Modi said Mamata Banerjee’s government does not respect anyone anymore, “not even mothers”.
“Didi, is that officer’s mother not a mother for you? No mother in Bengal knew how cruel and ruthless you are,” Modi said.
He said Banerjee was getting angrier with each passing day because people of Bengal have decided to show her the exit door.
“In democracy it’s the people who begin the game and end it, people of Bengal have decreed your ‘khela’ (game) is up. Didi wanted to hand over the reins to ‘Bhaipo’ (nephew). People saw through the ‘khela’ and decided it should be over,” Modi said, adding the countdown for her government’s departure has begun.
Top BJP leaders have often said Banerjee wanted to hand over the reins of the party and the TMC government to her nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek.
He promised to revive the industrial belt in Kalyani and said the BJP has presented a roadmap for it in its election manifesto.
Courtesy : TNIE