BJP churning out fake news items; bringing in 'tourists' from outside in poll-bound Bengal: TMC

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(Eds: Deleting words in intro) Kolkata, Jan 6 (PTI) The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP of producing fake news items and described saffron party leaders visiting West Bengal from outside the state as 'tourists' who have no idea of its heritage and language.

Senior TMC MP and party spokesperson Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar also charged the BJP with seeking to cling to power by 'killing people, instigating riots and dividing people'.

'They (BJP) are flush with cash. They have deployed some youngsters in a big building to churn out one fake news after another,' she said.

Referring to certain videos and news items being circulated on social media, Ghosh Dastidar described them as 'fake news produced from the factory of the BJP'.

She alleged that the saffron party is bringing in leaders from outside the state who utter 'wrong Bengali words with distorted accent. In West Bengal, the BJP has turned into a party of tourists.' These 'visitors' are ignorant of the heritage and traditions of West Bengal as they sit on the chair of icons like Rabindranath Tagore and place their own photo above that of the Nobel laureate poet in festoons, she alleged.

Ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to Bolpur close to Santiniketan, which is famous as the Rabindranath Tagore's abode for long years, in December, hoardings with his picture above that of the bard in the same frame appeared in the town causing outrage. The hoardings were later removed.

'Tagore had composed the song, 'Amar Sonar Bangla' (My Golden Bengal). The BJP is also promising to make a sonar Bangla (after coming to power in the state). But these people are insulting the state and its people by distorting Bengali words by pronouncing them incorrectly.

'They have no idea about the sacrifice of thousands of Bengalis for the language. They only know how to vandalise the bust of Vidyasagar and sit on the chair used by Tagore,' Ghosh Dastidar said.

A bust of the iconic social reformer was desecrated in a college in Kolkata during Amit Shah's roadshow in May 2019.

The TMC alleged that BJP activists were behind the incident.

Shah had also visited Visva-Bharati university in December and went to the Rabindra Bhavan, a museum, and the Upasana Griha (the prayer hall) and other buildings on the campus.

There were reports on social media that Shah had sat on Tagore's chair during the visit. However, it was not confirmed by the university authorities.

Stating that several BJP leaders from outside Bengal are visiting North 24 Parganas district in which her constituency Barasat is located, Ghosh Dastidar said, 'They may not be aware that a revolutionary like Titumir was born on the soil of district, they don't know Bengal.' Syed Mir Nisar Ali, better known as Titumir, fought against the British rulers in the 19th century.

The senior TMC leader described the BJP as a comparatively young and comparatively inexperienced party' to have come to power at the Centre.

'In its six years in power, the BJP has devastated the economy and circumvented the rule of law. They want to cling to power at any cost - by killing people, instigating riots, dividing people,' she alleged.

The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh 'had prevented the Trinamool Congress parliamentary party delegation from visiting Hathras to meet the family of the raped and murdered Dalit woman. One thousand police personnel stopped 3-4 MPs.

Here, they can go anywhere they want. Such curbs don't take place in Bengal,' she added.

To a question on senior CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya's claim that BCCI President and former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, who recently suffered a mild heart attack, was under pressure to join politics in poll- bound West Bengal, Ghosh Dastidar said that the TMC did not exert any such pressure on him.

The physician MP, however, said that stress might have contributed to cause such a situation.

The economy of the country witnessed 23.9 per cent negative growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal during the BJP rule at Centre, while 43 per cent more employment opportunities were created in West Bengal during the pandemic, she said.

Ghosh Dastidar claimed that 77 lakh marginal farmers were benefitted from 'Jal dharo jal bharo' project in Bengal by getting job cards, pisciculture in waterbodies and cooperative fish farming.

She said numerous Kisan mandis were set up to help farmers get proper price for their produce and 99 per cent of farmers got Kishan Credit Card in North 24 Parganas district.

'In contrast, 45-46 farmers have died so far during the ongoing agitation on Delhi border. But the Centre is unresponsive to their demand for withdrawing the three anti- people farm bills,' she said. PTI SUS NN NN NN NN