HALDIA: BJP's West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh said on Sunday that his party would "restore democracy" in the state if voted to power, warning TMC cadres to mend their ways or they will have to either visit hospital or crematorium.
Ghosh, who was addressing a rally in Haldia town in the East Midnapore district, said the Centre will ensure free and fair assembly elections in the state, likely to be held in April-May next year.
"I want to assure that the central government is with all of you. The Centre will ensure free and fair assembly elections in the state. The people will be able to excise their democratic right without any fear," Ghosh said.
He said that the days of the TMC government are numbered.
"The assembly polls would not be held with the state police but in the presence of central forces. Those TMC cadres who are yet to mend their ways and are still torturing common people should rectify themselves in the next six months. If they don't, their hands, legs and ribs will be broken and they will have to go to the hospital," Ghosh said.
"If they still continue with their mischief, they will have to go to the crematorium," he added.
The TMC said that Ghosh was vitiating the political atmosphere of the state.
"These kinds of statements show that the BJP is trying to unleash a reign of terror and vitiate the political atmosphere of the state ahead of the assembly polls. The people of the state would give them a befitting reply," said Saugata Roy, a senior leader of the TMC and an MP.
Ghosh on Sunday also asserted that the saffron party does not discriminate on religious lines and assured Muslims that they also enjoy the same rights that he does under the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.
And it is "only the BJP" that believes in this ideology", Ghosh said at a rally at the port city of Haldia in Purba Medinipur district.
This assumes significance with the 2021 state assembly polls due in April-May.
"We do not follow different policies depending upon a person's status, political affiliation or anything else when it comes to distribution of benefits of schemes.
"Muslims of Bengal have benefitted from the various schemes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There has been no differentiation as done by the TMC government."
"You (Muslims) are respected citizens having same rights like Dilip Ghosh, and only the BJP believes in this ideology," he said.
Ghosh was speaking at the citadel of state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikary who of late has been maintaining a distance with the leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress and has given several important party meetings a miss.
In the past, Ghosh had been quite vocal about the minority community, particularly while speaking about alleged Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh.
He alleged that all political parties who ruled West Bengal be it the CPI(M)-led Left Front, Congress and the TMC, had used Muslims only as "vote bank by keeping them illiterate, jobless and poor".
Mentioning that the Mamata Banerjee government in the state had differentiated among people, Ghosh said, "earlier, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government had announced Rs 2,000 as stipend for Imams. And only after realising that Hindus were annoyed, she announced Rs 1,000 for priests. Why this difference?" Moreover, "Only 8,000 priests will receive stipend when there are 80,000 such eligible persons. And unless you are a party follower the stipend is not for you," the BJP leader alleged, asking the priests to decline to accept the stipend as it is "ill-gotten".
Ghosh was confident that the saffron party would win over 200 out of the total 294 seats in the 2021 state assembly elections.
During his recent visit to the state, Union Home Minister and top BJP leader Amit Shah on Thursday had set a target of winning 200 seats.
Shah had asked BJP functionaries to take a vow to work hard to achieve the target.
"The party is keeping tabs on police officers who are harassing BJP workers and threatening leaders of other political parties, who wish to switch camps, with false cases," Ghosh said.
Holding the West Bengal government responsible for the spiralling potato price in the state, the BJP state president said, the ruling dispensation in the state owes an explanation to people on this issue.
Despite having a bumper production of potato this year as well, the market price of potato has ballooned in recent times.
Ghosh also claimed that if elected to power, the BJP will withdraw all "false cases" against political activists, including TMC workers, alleging that the "vindictive attitude" of Mamata Banerjee government has resulted in filing of 28,000 such cases against adversaries of the TMC.
Describing Ghosh's comments as "baseless and frivolous", TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, "the state is regularly conducting raids in markets to ensure that sellers do not hike potato prices while the tuber is being sold at lower prices from state outlets."
The senior TMC leader said, the Centre's recent decision to remove regulatory control on essential commodities has emboldened a section of traders to hoard potato and sell the product at a premium.
Sougata Roy said, Ghosh's "dream of coming to power will never be realised. He is prone to make baseless comments."