On Monday morning, a team of BJP MPs was denied permission to visit violence-hit Kaliachak in West Bengal’s Malda district. The team was turned back by the district authorities citing prohibitory orders soon after it reached Malda railway station at 6 am on Monday.
The return of the fact finding team comprising of BJP MPs Bhupendra Yadav, Ram Vilas Vedanti and SS Ahluwalia, has triggered a war of words between the BJP and the TMC.
BJP has accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing “vote bank” politics. The party also said that they will take up the matter with President Pranab Mukherjee.
The decision to stop the three-member BJP was a “text book example” of Banerjee’s vote bank politics, BJP’s national secretary, Siddharth Nath Singh alleged.
“Dictatorial state government has compassion for criminals but it shows tamancha (gun) to nationalists,” lashed out Singh in Delhi.
“This act of West Bengal government is condemnable,” said Bhupendra Yadav after he was stopped by district authorities in Malda.
Ahluwalia too slammed the ruling state government and condemned it for putting prohibitory orders in place.
“The purpose of the visit was to console the people, to restore their confidence that something like this will not happen in future. Due to pressure from the state government, the district administration said that we cannot go there as Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed,” Ahluwalia said.
TMC too, was quick to reciprocate to BJP’s offensive. TMC alleged that BJP was “whipping up communalism” ahead of the state assembly elections.
“BJP/RSS, as is their strategy, tried to turn it into a communal issue. They did this by trending hashtags on Twitter, sharing year-old photographs and posting irresponsible tweets with the help of its social media army,” TMC’s chief national spokesperson Derek O’Brien said in a statement in Kolkata.
BJP was trying to present “what I call CIN 100, Communally Insensitive Narrative, 100 days before the state goes to polls. They follow the same tactic in all election-bound states,” he added.
The ruling state government claimed that the situation in Malda was under control.
“The situation in Kaliachak, Malda was tense, but never got out of hand. The police handled the issue tactfully. Thankfully, no deaths occurred, no injuries and 10 people have been arrested,” Derek claimed.
The BJP rejected the government’s explanation that the violence occurred because of some issues between the BSF and the locals. The party claimed that the purpose behind it was to destroy the records allegedly related to a fake currency racket kept in a police station.
“We will meet the Home Minister to seek an appropriate enquiry and also meet the President due to the seriousness of the situation,” Siddharth Nath Singh said.
On January 3, a crowd had set on fire Kaliachak police station and several vehicles to protest against the alleged blasphemous remarks made by a pro-Hindutva leader.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) has attacked both the TMC and BJP on the issue, alleging that both parties were making the state suffer because of their narrow political interests.
According to CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, TMC was providing “patronage” to some fundamentalist elements within the minority community, and BJP was trying to inflame passions.
(With inputs from PTI)