Kolkata: “Delhi has suffered a planned genocide which was later camouflaged as a communal riot,” Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said today while hitting back at Union Home Minister and BJP de facto chief Amit Shah who had accused her and other Opposition parties of triggering riots in West Bengal over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) yesterday in Kolkata. As Shah kept mum on Sangh Parivar’s role in the murderous frenzy in the national capital last week as well as on the nonchalance of the police force that reports to the union home ministry, Mamata slammed him for not offering ‘any apology’ despite the ‘loss of 50 lives so far and grave injuries to hundreds as well as want on destruction of properties and livelihood means for thousands’.
Addressing her party members during an indoor rally, a day after Shah’s high-octane speech to his party supporters to dislodge Mamata in 2021 assembly polls, the big sis of Bengal returned the volley from her friends-turned foes with gusto. “Our fights will continue till the ouster of the autocratic government in New Delhi. A dictatorship is in the making as they are trying to impose a presidential form of government with a one-party rule across the country,” she said.
Mamata mocked the ruling party at the Centre while mentioning BJP’s successive defeats in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Delhi after the parliamentary polls last year. “Your arrogance and politics of communal polarization won’t pay anymore,” she roared. She even offered shelter and financial support to the Delhi victims.
Describing BJP’s latest war cry—‘Desh Ke Gaddaro Ko, Goli Maro Saalo Ko (Gun down the traitors of the country)’ as ‘demonic and criminal’ Mamata shot back, “Who are you to decide about the identity of the traitors and punish them? It is the prerogative of people of India, not your government or party.” The ‘Goli Maro’ gangs which have included the hate-mongering speeches by Delhi BJP leaders like Kapil Misra had triggered the worst communal clashes in Delhi. Same slogans were chanted by BJP supporters while heading to Shah’s rally yesterday. Mamata said that strict actions would be taken against such people. The city police has arrested three of them.
As Shah had tried to blame Mamata by harping on her ‘vote bank politics’ in Bengal based on ‘infiltrators’, read Muslims, she outflanked him by training her guns on UP’s Yogi Adityanath government for resorting to police brutalities and terrorizing practices to gag Muslims and secular Hindu protesters against the CAA. “There is no democratic right in the realm of Yogi bhai. Women do not have any voice there,” she said.
Shah and his lieutenants are trying to harvest the angst of Hindu refugees from Bangladesh in coming polls in Bengal by promising full citizenship under the CAA as well as ‘power to sons of the soil’, read Hindu Bengalis while accusing Mamata of being a turncoat on the emotive issue. The chief minister tried to outmaneuver them by describing the CAA as an ‘unnecessary but a deliberate design to divide people of Bengal and rest of India’.
“All refugees are already the citizens of India whether they had come before and after the Partition as well as those who walked in, post-liberation of Bangladesh. The government should give it to those are left out after their applications. Why make religious differences among them and continue with your bloody game just to ensure your perpetual rule? Are not we sons of the soil? Will you deport us after your NRC?” she retorted. Mamata had earlier refused to implement the CAA-NRC-NPR while Shah ruled out a rollback yesterday. Mentioning the series of expulsion of Bengali-speaking people from the BJP-ruled Assam, UP and Karnataka after being suspected as Bangladeshi Muslims, as well as post-riot exodus of migrant labors from Delhi, Mamata punctured Shah’s promise to turn Bengal into a saffronized ‘Sonar Bangla’.
In her renewed effort to be rallying point for the non-Congress parties including the NDA partners of BJP like Bihar’s main ruling party JD (U), she urged the state chief minister Nitish Kumar and his Orissa counterpart Navin Patnaik to oppose the CAA. Bihar’s assembly polls are scheduled this year in November-December. The JD (U) had taken the initiative for the passage of an all-party resolution against the proposed National Register of Citizenship recently in the state assembly. “Biharis are also being driven out of Assam. I will ask Nitishji too raise his voice,” Bengal chief minister said.
But closer home, she was caustic against Left-Congress combo and accused it of trying to ‘fish in the troubled water’. Her traditional rivals in the state politics which have been diminished to a distant third force called TMC’s absence on Kolkata streets during Shah’s visit yesterday a proof for Mamata’s ‘setting’ with the BJP in order to ease the pressure on her minions booked in Narada-Sarada scams. She had met Shah in Bhubaneswar few days back. Today she returned the favor by describing the red and tricolor-holders as ‘in cahoots’ with the saffron party who spurned her ‘earlier friendly overtures’. As both BJP and TMC are sides are drumming up propaganda on good governance for municipal polls in April, the irony of continued mutual spats among secular parties is not lost on many who wish for an understanding of anti-BJP forces for the coming polls.