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Assam Killings: As Mamata Takes ‘Anti-BJP’ Spotlight Ahead of Lok Sabha Battle, Bengal BJP Chief Writes to Rajnath Singh

Political analysts say Mamata has projected herself as the “most concerned leader” on the NRC issue, which is likely to deal a blow to the BJP in Lok Sabha elections.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:November 3, 2018, 4:04 PM IST
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Assam Killings: As Mamata Takes ‘Anti-BJP’ Spotlight Ahead of Lok Sabha Battle, Bengal BJP Chief Writes to Rajnath Singh
File photo of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
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Kolkata: The killing of five people in Assam’s Tinsukia has pushed the Bengal BJP on the backfoot with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee highlighting the plight of nearly 40 lakh Bengalis, Muslims and Biharis, who were excluded from the final NRC draft, in an official statement.

Condemning the bloodshed, Mamata questioned if the killings were in retaliation to the raging National Register of Citizens (NRC) debate in the state. More than 40 lakh people face deportation as their names were excluded from the final draft published on July 30.

“Terrible news coming out of Assam. We strongly condemn the brutal attack in Tinsukia and the killing of Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas and Subodh Das. Is this the outcome of the recent NRC development? We have no words to express our deep sorrow to the grieving families. The perpetrators must be punished at the very earliest,” Mamata had tweeted.









Accusing the Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) and the Congress of playing politics on the issue, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “People in West Bengal are worried about the safety of Bengalis in Assam. Therefore, I have written a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ensure the safety of Bengalis in Assam… The TMC, Congress and CPM are playing dirty politics over the incident. Therefore, I have requested the Centre to provide safety.”

The Trinamool Congress on Friday took out protest marches against the killings in Kolkata and other parts of the state. The party is also planning to send a delegation of lawmakers to visit the families of those killed in Tinsukia.

Political analysts say Mamata has projected herself as the “most concerned leader” on the NRC issue, which is likely to deal a blow to the BJP in Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to News18, Biswanath Chakraborty, professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University (RBU), said, “The NRC issue in Assam is consolidated on Bengali and Muslim sentiments and this is going to have a huge impact in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal. It is a self-goal for the BJP. The TMC is certainly going to benefit. This will spoil the BJP’s target of 50 percent Lok Sabha in Bengal.”

“Mamata has projected herself as the most credible and concerned leader, nationally, about the situation in Assam. She has also sent a message to Bengalis, Hindus and Biharis (whose names were excluded from the list) that she is always there to help them. She played on the Bengali sentiment and this is the area where the BJP needs to be worried. Basically, Mamata did a counter narrative of what Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal did there. Also, her invitation to Assamese people whose names were missing from the NRC list makes her the most credible face among Bengalis ahead of the Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, BJP won two — Darjeeling and Asansol — in 2014, but is eyeing 22 seats this time.

“The BJP in Bengal is trying hard to gain some platform. They did well in some pockets to some extent. They performed well in Jangalmahal, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar (both close to Assam border), but the NRC would be a self-goal and the impact will be seen in Bengal because of the Bengali sentiments,” Chakraborty said.
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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