Coming down heavily on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday warned the people of the state to be careful during the upcoming 2021 Assembly polls as those who "killed Gandhi ji and insulted Rabindranath Tagore" were trying to capture the state.
Banerjee, while addressing a mega roadshow in Bolpur, branded Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty as a "BJP man", and said he plans on destroying the rich heritage of the hallowed institution by "importing divisive and communal politics inside its campus".
"BJP is a garbage of lies and believes in dangerous divisive politics. The outsider 'goondas' (goons) came to Bengal and they are trying to create rift between us. They are blackmailing us in the name of agencies. I would like to tell them today, we will not bow our head before those who killed Gandhi ji (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) and insulted Rabindranath Tagore. It is unfortunate that they have appointed a saffron-stamped Vice-Chancellor at Visva Bharati. BJP is trying to convert Visva Bharati into a 'Danga' place," she said.
"Those who don't respect Mahatma Gandhi and other icons of the country are taking of building 'Sonar Bangla' (Golden Bengal). Rabindranath Tagore has already created 'Sonar Bangla' several decades ago, all we need to do is to protect the place from the communal onslaught of the BJP," Banerjee said during her address, following a four-kilometre roadshow.
Hinting at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, she said, "One outsider is coming to Bengal as if he is Santa Claus or Vallabhbhai Patel. Staying at a five star hotel and eating five star food and talking about reforms of the poor. He is not only fooling people but also misleading in the name of Hinduism. These outsiders are creating chaos in the land of Tagore. They don’t even know where Rabindranath Tagore was born. They don’t even know the culture of Bengal. They only know hatred and divisive politics. Elections are coming and therefore these seasonal birds are coming to Bengal."
Talking about the recent defections from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Banerjee said the BJP camp may have bought a few MLAs, but it can never buy her party. She said that those TMC leaders that joined the saffron party were removed from the TMC because of their "corrupt practices."
"The BJP is trying to coerce TMC leaders to join the party using moneybags to break opposition parties. Today, I would like to appeal to the people of Birbhum to stand against evil forces like BJP," the TMC chief said, adding, "The BJP is trying to buy people with 'bundles of notes' ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls. Take the money and then lodge a police complaint."
"They are trying to create a new Hindu dharma. We all follow the Hindu principles and ideologies of Swami Vivekananda and Ram Krishna Paramhansa. But the BJP is trying to create a dangerous Hinduism trend in India. This is not only dangerous for our democracy but also devastating for our country. Now, they are dreaming of capturing our Bengal. Everyday, leaders from other states are coming to Bengal to spread misinformation," she said.
The chief minister held a 4.5 km mega roadshow from Dakbangla More to Chowmatha More in Bolpur, Birbhum district. The entire stretch was filled with large cut-outs of Mamata Banerjee and Rabindranath Tagore. More than 10 LCD screens were put up at all the important intersections for wide coverage of the mega show.
Minister of State (MoS) Indranil Sen had, on December 27, reached Bolpur to oversee the preparations for the roadshow. He had also attended the rehearsal of the artists who were to perform at the show.
The TMC decided to hold the roadshow in the same route like the one where Amit Shah had participated on December 20. Party insiders claimed that it was TMC’s 'Shakti Pradarshan' (show of strength) ahead of the crucial Assembly elections.
Birbhum is a matter of concern for the BJP as it failed to make a mark in the two Lok Sabha seats including Bolpur and Birbhum during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
However, despite winning both the Lok Sabha seats, the major concern for the TMC has been that it was lagging behind in many other Assembly and Municipal wards in the 2019 elections.
Going with the statistics, there are two Lok Sabha seats (Bolpur and Birbhum) and 11 Assembly seats out of 294 including Dubrajpur, Seuri, Bolpur, Sainthia, Rampurhat, Muraria, Hansan, Mayureswar, Labhpur and Nanur are in the Birbhum district. Out of the 11 seats, TMC had won nine while Nanur was secured by the CPI(M) and Congress had won the Hansan seat in 2016 Assembly polls.
According to Election Commission (EC) statistics, the BJP lost to the TMC in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Birbhum where TMC’s Satabdi Roy defeated BJP’s Dudh Kumar Mondal by 88,917 votes and in Bolpur where TMC’s Asit Kumar Mal had defeated BJP’s Ram Prasad Das by 1,06,403 votes.