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Those Coming from Hyderabad with Money Bags are BJP's Biggest Allies, Agents: Mamata Again Targets Owaisi

File photo of Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

File photo of Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

Banerjee, who has been often criticised by the BJP for appeasing and treating Muslims as her vote bank, urged the community not to trust leaders visiting from outside.

Sagardighi(WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yet again made a veiled attack on the AIMIM on Wednesday saying leaders visiting the state from Hyderabad with money bags and claiming to be sympathisers of Muslims are the "biggest allies and agents" of the BJP.

Banerjee, who has been often criticised by the BJP for appeasing and treating Muslims as her vote bank, urged the community not to trust leaders visiting from outside.

The Muslims, the TMC supremo said, should only repose faith on leaders from the state as only they can fight for the cause of the people of West Bengal.

"Don't trust leaders who come from outisde and try to present themselves as your (Muslim's) sympathisers. Only leaders from Bengal can fight for your cause. Those who are visiting from Hyderabad with money bags and are claiming to be sympathizers of Muslims are the biggest allies of BJP," she said.

"They (political leaders from Hyderabad) can never protect and fight for the cause of Muslims because they are the biggest agents of BJP," Banerjee said while addressing a public meeting at Sagardighi in Murshidabad, a Muslim majority district on the borders of Bangladesh.

Continuing her tirade against AIMIM, she said "I don't believe in doing politics over religion. But few people are coming from Hyderabad and trying to vitiate the atmosphere," she said.

Later, while addressing an administrative meeting at Baharampore, the headquarters of Murshidabad district, Banerjee asked the police to be more vigilant about people from Hyderabad visiting the area with "nefarious designs".

"The police have to be more active and vigilant about who are visiting the (Murshidabad) district and holding indoorand outdoor meetings. Keep a tab on some schools and madrasas," she said.

Her comments came two days after her statement on "minority extremists" created a huge political furore. Reacting to Banerjee's statement, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) state president Zameerul Hasan said Banerjee has "lost her cool" as the party is gaining

ground in the state.

"As our party (AIMIM) is gaining ground among Muslims and dalits, she has lost her cool. I want to make it very clear that AIMIM will fight the 2021 assembly polls in the state," Hasan said.

Marking a shift in her rhetoric on religious extremism, Banerjee had at an event in Cooch Behar on Monday asked people to refrain from listening to "minority extremists" who have their base in Hyderabad, apparently targeting Owaisi, a Lok Sabha MP from that city.

The comment drew sharp reactions from AIMIM party chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who hit back on Tuesday saying Muslims in West Bengal are ranked "worst" on development indicators.

Owaisi, who is seeking to expand his party's influence beyond Hyderabad, said "When arrogance gets to your head you make nonsensical, baseless statements. She is making these statements because she is frustrated ... because she is losing ground ... and she has demeaned all the Muslims who had voted for her".

The AIMIM chief said neither did he go to West Bengal to campaign during the Lok Sabha polls and nor did his party field a candidate.

"It's not religious extremism to say that Bengal's Muslims have one of the worst human development indicators of any minority," he earlier wrote on Twitter.

When asked by a TV news channel whether he hoped to extend AIMIM's influence in West Bengal, the Hyderabad MP said his party has already been working in the state for a year and half.

"I have to contest elections if I believe in democracy. I have to contest elections if I have to realise my constitutional rights .... to stop these opportunistic parties who have used Muslims to be in power," he asserted.

first published:November 20, 2019, 22:28 IST