Shah slams TMC over appeasement politics, seeks white paper on political killings

·5-min read

Kolkata, Nov 6 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit out at the TMC government on Friday over alleged minority appeasement and deteriorating law and order, demanded a white paper on political killings and urged voters to give the BJP a chance to run West Bengal.

Alleging that there had been politicisation and criminalisation of government officers in the state, the BJP leader, who was on a two-day visit, said the TMC government had stopped sending crime statistics to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) after 2018.

During a visit to the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Shah castigated the TMC government for adopting appeasement politics, which he said had hurt the state's age-old tradition of upholding the nation's spiritual consciousness.

The home minister stood by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar for working 'within the constitutional limits', saying the utterances against the latter by the elected representatives of the TMC were 'unacceptable'.

'After 2018, the West Bengal government has not sent the crime statistics to the NCRB. What is the state government trying to hide?' he asked. 'I want to ask (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee to come out with a white paper on political killings in Bengal.' 'The state tops the chart in political killings. In regards to women safety and security, West Bengal has an abysmal record,' Shah said.

The BJP leader launched a tirade against the chief minister's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee.

'The aim is to build a strong Bengal in a new era of development. Mamata Banerjee aims to make her nephew the next chief minister,' he said at a press conference in Kolkata. 'In West Bengal, there are three kinds of laws: one for the nephew, one for minority appeasement and one for common people.' Shah also touched upon the issue of infiltration through the porous borders, saying the boundaries of West Bengal were not secure.

He urged the people to give the BJP, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a chance in the 2021 assembly election so that it could deliver 'shonar Bangla' (golden Bengal) to the masses.

The 10 years of the TMC rule is marked with 'tolabaji (extortion), violence and political killings, he said, exuding confidence of coming to power with more than 200 seats in the 2021 polls.

'The Mamata Banerjee government has failed to keep its promises. Their promises have been proved to be hollow over the past 10 years and hopes of people have turned into despair,' he said. 'I urge the people of the state to give the BJP a chance as they have given Congress, the communists and the TMC a chance in the past.' Shah acknowledged that West Bengal was the prime focus of the BJP, adding that the party would fight and win it with a 'massive mandate'.

Asked about the possibility of President's rule in the state, Shah said: 'As far as Article 356 issue is concerned, it can't be discussed in a press conference. It's a constitutional matter and the Centre takes a decision based on the report from the governor.' 'And there's also no need to impose Article 356 as the government will change next April (assembly polls),' he added.

On Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung walking out of the NDA and joining hands with the TMC, Shah feels that the former had been working for the Gorkhas and would continue to do so in future 'But this instance is a classic example of vendetta politics of the TMC. Why is the TMC not arresting him (Gurung) now when he has so many cases against him?' Shah asked.

Reacting to it, TMC leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy accused Shah of peddling a 'bunch of lies'.

'He was quoting an NCRB report of 2018 to prove women are not safe in Bengal. He is peddling falsehood,' Roy said. 'The same NCRB report shows atrocities on women are far higher in Uttar Pradesh in the same year.' 'Why didn't he go to Hathras? For 40-long hours, no reporter, including women journalists, were allowed to go to Hathras,' the TMC MP said. 'After Hathras, 13 more gang-rape incidents were reported in BJP-ruled north-Indian states.' TMC leader Derek O'Brien echoed Roy and said: 'Shah's mission to defame and insult Bengal continues.' 'As far his predictions of 200-plus seats, people have seen how his predictions had gone wrong in Bihar in 2015, Delhi in 2015 and 2020, in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2018,' O'Brien said. 'Be rest assured, Bengal has and will always stand up to protect the soul of the country.' Earlier, Shah also had lunch at the house of a party worker, who belonged to the Matua community, in Baguihati area of North 24 Parganas district.

The Matuas, a refugee community from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), is a deciding factor in around 40-50 assembly seats in the state.

During an internal party meeting, Shah assured that the Centre would ensure a free-and-fair election without any violence and urged the party workers to strengthen the booth committees ahead of the April-May polls.

The saffron party, after having a limited presence in the state for decades, has emerged as the main rival of the TMC by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general election. PTI PNT SUS HMB