NEW DELHI: Union Minister Babul Supriyo Friday said there are provisions in the Constitution to take care of issues of political violence and "intimidation of voters" in the run-up to the assembly polls in the West Bengal, prompting the ruling TMC to dare BJP to impose President's Rule in the state.
Supriyo, while referring to the alleged killing of more than 130 BJP workers in the state in recent time, asked the TMC to mend its ways and desist from "intimidating voters" and claimed that law and order have completely broken down in the state.
With the minister's remarks triggering political slugfest, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, said the party was not in favour of imposing President's rule in the state and added they would defeat the TMC in the coming state polls.
"The TMC should mend its ways. Only a few months are left for the assembly elections. If the TMC members think they can intimidate voters and engage in political violence, then there are provisions in the Constitution to take care of such things," Supriyo told a local news channel.
"If the TMC thinks that there is a weak government at the centre, then they are completely wrong. The BJP doesn't have to do anything, there are medicines prescribed in the constitution to take care of such a violent and anarchic government," the Asansol Lok Sabha member said.
Supriyo claimed that the people of the state have made up their mind to vote for the BJP in the assembly elections, which are likely to be held in April-May next year.
"We want the people who voted TMC to power to topple the present government through a democratic process. But, the fact is law and order has completely broken down, and political killings are the order of the day," said Supriyo.
Reacting to Supriyo's claim, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the party is not in favour of imposing President's Rule, but some leaders have been demanding it in the wake of ongoing political violence in the state.
"The way democracy is being killed in the state, and our party workers are being murdered every day in the state. Some of our party leaders have been demanding President's Rule in the state for the sake of free and fair polls."
"But, the party has not demanded imposition of Article 356 in the state. We will defeat the TMC in the assembly polls," Ghosh told reporters.
A section of state BJP leaders has also been demanding the imposition of President's rule, citing "breakdown of the rule of law".
The TMC said that Supriyo was hinting at imposing of President's rule in the state and dared the saffron party to promulgate Article 356.
"I want to challenge the BJP to impose President's rule in the state. If they have the guts, let them bring it," senior TMC leader and Minister Bratya Basu said.
Basu colleague in the party, Sougata Roy said if the BJP is so keen on imposing President's rule, then they should start with Uttar Pradesh.
"If he was hinting at the imposition of Article 356 in Bengal, then he should first talk about the imposition of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh where the rule of law has ceased to exist," Roy, a TMC MP, said.
Meanwhile, Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya added, "If they want to impose President's Rule, then they should impose it first in Uttar Pradesh."
Alleging that TMC and BJP are helping each other ahead of 2021 Assembly polls, CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, "We all know that TMC is going to lose 2021 Assembly polls in Bengal and I think that such comments ahead of the elections are being made to help the TMC. Once again, it was proved that BJP and TMC are helping each other."
After having a limited presence in the politically polarised state for decades, the BJP emerged as the main rival of the ruling Trinamool Congress, winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general election.
With the BJP's strength increasing manifold in the state in the last few years, where it has never been in power, party leaders have exuded confidence that the party will end Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's 10-year rule in the assembly elections.