Mahalis, who Offered Food to Shah, Join TMC After Disappearing For A Night
In a dramatic turn of events less than a week after Shah’s visit, members of Mahali family, who greeted Shah with lunch, first went missing on Tuesday night and then resurfaced on Wednesday morning along with Trinamool Congress leader Gautam Deb.
Kolkata: The highlight of BJP President Amit Shah’s recent visit to West Bengal was his lunch at a Mahali, the tribe which speaks Mahali language, house in Naxalbari. The images of Shah sitting on the floor of Raju Mahali’s house at South Katiajote village and having rice, dal, ‘potol bhaja’ (fried gourd dish), squash curry, salad and papad served on a banana leaf went viral.
Speaking to reporters, Deb said, “Mahalis have willingly joined TMC today. There was no pressure on them. They have decided to join TMC after being convinced with Mamata Banerjee’s immense developmental work in the state.”
“They will soon be given responsibility to work for TMC,” he added.
Standing beside Deb, Raju Mahali, with tears in his eyes, said, “I am happy to join TMC today. We will work to strengthen the party in Naxalbari.” His wife Geeta was also seen crying.
“On Tuesday night we got information that Raju, a painter, and his wife Geeta, farm labour, and others went missing from their house. We immediately rushed to the Naxalbari police station and alerted the officer,” BJP leader Dilip Barui told News18.
Barui said Mahalis were under pressure from the local Trinamool Congress unit ever since Amit Shah and state BJP President Dilip Ghosh had lunch at their house on April 25.
BJP’s Siliguri district president Praveen Agarwal said Deb had abducted Mahalis. “Mahalis were kidnapped by Gautam Deb’s men. Mahalis are under pressure to join the TMC. BJP workers are there in Naxalbari police station and we are demanding immediate action against those who are involved in the incident,” said Agarwal.
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