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Mamata takes a dig at BJP for Delhi riots, ‘goli maaro’ slogan; BJP hits back

Responding to Banerjee’s tirade against them, Bengal BJP unit president Dilip Ghosh labelled Banerjee’s “planned genocide” remark as “irresponsible for a chief minister”.

Updated: Mar 02, 2020 19:21 IST

By Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times Kolkata

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee addressing a gathering of party workers at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Monday. (SAMIR JANA/HT PHOTO.)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for last week’s communal clashes in Delhi and the raising of the controversial ‘goli maaro’ slogan in Kolkata. Bengal BJP leaders, however, said they stood in support of those party workers whom the police had arrested for raising the slogan on Sunday.

Banerjee also alleged that the Delhi riots were “a planned genocide”, triggering strong reactions from BJP leaders who called her remarks “irresponsible”.

“I have been told by many people that it’s a planned genocide later shown as a riot. Delhi Police is under the Centre. Delhi Police, the CRPF and the CISF were all present. But nothing was done. And the BJP is so shameless that they have not even sought an apology,” she said while addressing a gathering of party workers at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Monday.

Targeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah who in his Sunday speech in Kolkata called for the toppling of the TMC government, Banerjee said, “They are shamelessly seeking to capture Bengal. Just look at what they have done to the states under their control. All seven Delhi MPs belong to BJP. It got riots. Assam got NRC, chaos and terror. In Uttar Pradesh, no one gets to lodge FIRs at police stations.”



The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief also took digs at the BJP supporters who raised the “Desh Ke Gaddaron Ko, Goli Maaro Saalon Ko” slogans in Kolkata on Sunday.

“Those who talk about Bengal’s law and order, tell me why the BJP leaders who created the provocation (before the Delhi clashes) with the slogan have not been booked and arrested. They did it here yesterday and we have picked them up today. It’s Kolkata, not Delhi. If we spare a single person, others will be encouraged,” the chief minister said.

Responding to Banerjee’s tirade against them, Bengal BJP unit president Dilip Ghosh labelled Banerjee’s “planned genocide” remark as “irresponsible for a chief minister”.

“In Bengal, people who shout Pakistan Zindabaad are not penalised and Bharat Tere Tukde Honge (India will be split) are not penalised and but those who call for shooting the country’s traitors are arrested. What’s wrong with the ‘goli maaro’ slogan? Should anti-nationals be worshipped? I myself had called for shooting anti-national elements,” said Ghosh, a Lok Sabha member.

Officers at the New Market police station on Sunday had registered a suo motu case at the station under Sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (statements conducing public mischief), (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. On Monday morning, three BJP supporters, Prem Narayan Tewari, Surendra Kumar Tewari and Dhruba Basu were arrested.

BJP state unit general secretary Sayantan Basu said the party would move the Calcutta high court against the police for arresting three BJP supporters on Monday for raising the ‘goli maaro’ slogan on their way to Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata’s Shahid Minar ground.

At the party workers’ gathering which was also attended by TMC’s political advisor Prashant Kishor, Mamata Banerjee launched a mega public outreach campaign, designed by Kishor.

Branded as “Banglar Garbo Mamata (Bengal’s Pride Mamata)”, the campaign would unfold in three phases over 75 days across all panchayat and civic areas in the state and involve 75,000 grassroot-level leaders and 5,00,000 party workers.

“Mamata is our pride because of three reasons – a) as a fierce protector of the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution, b) the true custodian of Bengal’s culture, dignity and pride and c) weaving Bengal’s turnaround story,” said Abhishek Banerjee, the chief minister’s nephew and TMC’s youth wing chief.

The campaign will include grassroot level TMC leaders take part in a breakfast with 2,500 journalists working at the panchayat/community development block-level, felicitation of thousands of locally-reputed women, people from SC, ST communities, and party veterans, a mega joining event and street corner meetings in every nook and corner of the state.

Amit Shah on Sunday had launched the BJP’s Bengal campaign, named Aar Noy Annay (no more injustice), seeking to topple the TMC government by bagging two-thirds of the state Assembly seats in 2021. The party in 2019 bagged 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, against 22 won by the TMC.

Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar too joined the ‘goli maaro’ controversy on Monday when he said that the media was “highlighting a minor incident in a major rally” and advised that they should refrain from playing a partisan role. TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee and Left legislator Sujan Chakraborty said the governor had compromised the honour of his chair by commenting like a political leader.

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