The killing of four people in CISF firing in Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi on April 10 further heated West Bengal’s political cauldron on Monday, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claiming the incident was plotted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah with “full knowledge” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi, on the campaign trail in the state, termed the incident a consequence of Banerjee’s conspiracy to rig the elections by denying people their right to vote.
A day after Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh courted controversy with his warning of more Cooch Behar-like killings, another senior party leader Rahul Sinha stirred the pot further with his remark that if the central force deemed fit, it could have shot dead more than four people to thwart attempts at rigging. Shah, who was stumping in the Darjeeling hills, said he has his resignation letter ready in his pocket which he will tender if people want.
“Amit Shah hatched the conspiracy of Cooch Behar killings with the full knowledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” a livid Banerjee, whose party has claimed the deceased were ruling TMC supporters, told a public meeting in Ranaghat in Nadia district. Modi, who held three back-to-back rallies in Bardhaman, Kalyani and Barasat, shot back.
“In the last 10 years, Mamata Banerjee has 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, Didi’s masterplan for ‘chappa votes’ (rigging). Victory and defeat are part of democracy but you will not be allowed to snatch away people’s right to vote,” he told a rally in Kalyani in Nadia district.
Rahul Sinha, who was in Habra area of North 24 Parganas, alleged miscreants patronised by Banerjee were shooting innocent BJP supporters, and defended the CISF firing. “The central forces, in their effort to stop rigging, could have shot dead more than four maybe seven or eight – if necessary,” he said, provoking stinging criticismm from Banerjee.
“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 banned from politics,” the TMC supremo said. Ghosh had on Sunday said more Cooch Behar-like killings may happen in the next phase of assembly elections if “naughty boys like the ones who died in Sitalkuchi” try to take the law into their hands.
Shah was, however, unfazed. “I have kept ready my resignation letter in the pocket. If people want, I will tender my resignation,” he said.