Police on Sunday stopped West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh from visiting the cyclone-ravaged areas of the East Midnapore district, the second time in two days, triggering a war of words between the saffron party and the ruling Trinamool Congress.
Sources in the BJP said Ghosh was on his way to Nandakumar, Haldia and Kanthi, which were among the worst-affected areas in the district, to distribute relief materials, when his convoy was stopped midway in Tamluk.
A minor scuffle broke out between the police personnel and BJP workers, following which Ghosh left in a huff. Police, on its part, said the saffron party leader did not have necessary permit to visit the cyclone-hit areas.
"TMC leaders had been visiting the affected areas of East Midnapore. Police wouldn't stop them. The rule somehow changes for the BJP leaders," Ghosh said.
The BJP MP also claimed that the state doesn't want the country to know about its "failure" in combating the crisis, and was "indulging in politics to keep the truth from coming out".
"Four days have passed since the cyclone wreaked havoc, but the state government has failed to reach out to the distressed. Now that we are trying to help those people, it would not let us. The TMC should stop indulging in petty politics in this hour of crisis," he insisted.
On Saturday, too, the state BJP chief was not allowed to enter the storm-ravaged areas of South 24 Parganas.
Senior TMC leader and state minister Suvendu Adhikari said the government was doing its part, and the BJP leaders should find some other work to keep themselves engaged.
"Don't they have anything else to do? The state government is taking all possible measures to help people. The BJP should stop politicising the matter," Adhikari said.
Ghosh had on Friday demanded that financial assistance, promised by the Union government, be credited to the bank accounts of the cyclone-hit people, to avoid siphoning attempts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the state to take stock of the situation, had announced advance assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the cyclone-hit state and an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of each of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured.