KOLKATA: The Trinamool Congress on Saturday alleged that the BJP is bringing in functionaries to West Bengal from outside ahead of the assembly elections as its central leadership does not have faith in local leaders.
The BJP has an "assembly line for manufacturing lies" which are circulated through its propaganda machinery, senior TMC MP Kakali Ghosh Dastidar said while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here.
"The BJP central leadership has imported functionaries from other states since they do not have faith in the local leadership," Ghosh Dastidar, a three-time MP from Barasat constituency, claimed.
With an eye on the West Bengal assembly elections due in April-May 2021, the BJP has divided the state into five organisational zones and appointed central leaders in charge of those.
"The BJP has no leader in Bengal, while the state has produced the country's best chief minister in Mamata Banerjee.
There is no one comparable to her," the senior TMC leader said.
"As in the automobile industry, an assembly line for manufacturing lies is at work in the BJP and its propaganda machinery is circulating those lies," Ghosh Dastidar claimed, without citing any specific example.
Regarding disgruntled TMC minister Suvendu Adhikari, who has of late been holding public meetings independent of the party or its logo at various places, she wondered who is funding his programmes.
"Which is the richest party in the country and has a propaganda machinery that spreads lies?" she asked, but did not name any party.
To a question, Ghosh Dastidar said that she is not aware of any bitter comment made by Adhikari about the TMCs leadership and he is is an important member of the party's decision making body and a minister holding key departments.
Adhikari holds portfolios such as Transport, Water Resources and Irrigation.
Ghosh Dastidar alleged that while Dalits and women are being attacked in different places of the country including Hathras in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, its leaders are having food at the homes of such people ahead of elections.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had lunch at the house of a tribal man in Bankura district and with a Matua family near Kolkata during his visit to the state earlier this month.
"It's not 'Beti bachao beti padhao' that they are pursuing but in reality, it is beti jwalao (burn) that they believe in," the MP, who had gone to Hathras as part of a TMC team of parliamentarians, said.
A 19-year-old Dalit woman, whose death in a Delhi hospital two weeks after she was brutally gang-raped sparked protests and anguish, was cremated near her home in Hathras in the dead of the night in September.
Ghosh Dastidar alleged that Dalits and minorities are the worst-off during the present BJP regime and accused it of having divided the people of the country.
Alleging that the BJP-led government at the Centre has failed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the TMC MP said that it should resign.
The government had been warned in Parliament way back in January about the outbreak of the disease and was urged to take preventive steps, "but the Centre did not take any action, while a nationwide lockdown was announced on a four- hour notice when things went out of control", she said.
She claimed that Mamata Banerjee is the only chief minister in the country to have paid for the fare of migrant workers to the Railways to bring them back home.
"Mamata Banerjee has given free ration to the people of the state in advance, but what has the Centre done?" she asked.
Ghosh Dastidar also claimed that women are making advances in education in the state and trafficking has stopped under the stewardship of Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP government at the Centre relies on ordinances to bypass Parliament, she claimed, asserting that the saffron party has no respect for the Constitution.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Saturday hit out at the ruling TMC for its politics of "insiders and outsiders" and said it was creating suspicion about the state in the mind of fellow countrymen.
The TMC's "narrow politics" of asking people to resist outsiders is creating problems for the Bengalis working in other states, he claimed.
Ghosh questioned whether the TMC would be able to provide jobs and security for the lakhs of migrant Bengali labourers if they are called outsiders in the states they work in and are asked to return.
"Has the TMC started thinking that this region has become Paschim Bangladesh? Do we require visas to enter this region?" he said punning on the state's name Paschim Bangla (West Bengal).
"By doing this kind of insiders and outsiders politics, they (the TMC) are creating suspicion in the minds of countrymen about West Bengal, like there was about Kashmir. The TMC must rethink before saying such things. Or the 10 crore Bengali population will be insulted," Ghosh told reporters at the party headquarters here.
Stating that none in the other states where Bengali migrant labourers work call them outsiders, the BJP leader said, "But if it happens and they are asked to go back will the TMC be able to provide jobs to all of them when they return? Will it be able to provide them proper security? "Where is the TMC stooping down while trying to do politics? Bengalis were never such narrow-minded as this earlier," he said.
Continuing his tirade against the TMC, Ghosh said "Now even the PM, the union home minister have become outsiders.
When the TMC leaders go to Jharkhand, Tripura, Assam or UP, does anybody call them outsiders?" Without naming poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who has been tasked by the TMC to work out strategies by the party in view of the 2021 assembly election, he said that it is an "outsider" who is working for it.
"The TMC has urged people to restrict outsiders. But people from outside are coming and formulating the party's strategies as well as deciding on its leadership. We see that TMC partymen are reluctant to hear from the outsider," he added.
The BJP leader cited the examples of TMC MPs like K D Singh, Ahmed Hassan Imran and the Congress's Abhishek Manu Singhvi who are not from the state but got elected in the Rajya Sabha from it.
"Ahmed Hassan Imran was the founder of SIMI and is basically from Bangladesh. He came here from Assam and suddenly became a person from Bengal," Ghosh claimed.
The TMC, he said, was creating a division among the deities too.
"Sri Ram has now become an outsider, while goddesses Kali and Durga are from Bengal. Those who are performing the Chhath Puja are outsiders. In India there was never this issue of outsider and insider".
On TMC leaders criticising him for his comments that if BJP comes to power in West Bengal it will strive to turn the state into Gujarat, Ghosh said that the saffron party is creating jobs and providing food for people of the entire country.
The BJP leader also hit out at the Left parties for cautioning people about BJP-ruled Gujarat by saying that it was a place of riots and asserted that most of the minorities from West Bengal work there.
"I will definitely turn West Bengal into Gujarat if the BJP wins. It is Gujarat which is providing food to the people of the country. Over a lakh of people from West Bengal are working there. There are no jobs here (West Bengal)."
"The Left parties had failed to open their account in the Lok Sabha elections. They made the workers of West Bengal migrant labourers and have themselves vanished," he mocked.
Ghosh said that Gujarat is economically better off than West Bengal.
Besides, Gujarat is in number one position in law and order and security for women.
"But in West Bengal, there is lawlessness everywhere and women have zero security," Ghosh said.
Has Mamata mortgaged TMC to Prashant Kishore and team: Vijayvargiya
Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya on Saturday launched a scathing attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, wondering whether she had lost self confidence and "mortgaged" her party, the Trinamool Congress, to poll strategist Prashant Kishore and his team.
He said the old guards of TMC are deserting it, as are the people of the state.
"No self-respecting person can remain in TMC now, because its reins have now gone into the hands of 'bhaipo' (Banerjee's nephew Abhishek)," Vijavargiya said.
"I want to ask Mamata Banerjee whether she has lost her self-confidence and mortgaged the party to the PK (Prashant Kishore) company," he said at a rally in Ramnagar in East Midnapore.
Kishor's organisation Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) has been appointed by the ruling party in West Bengal to prepare its strategy for the 2021 assembly polls.
Earlier this week, TMC MLA from Coochbehar South constituency, Mihir Goswami, had also claimed through a social media post that the reins of the party are not in the hands of Banerjee anymore.
Vijayvargiya alleged that the Rs 1,000-crore assistance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his visit to the Amphan-affected areas in West Bengal was not accounted for by the state government.
"No one knows how the money was spent or where it went," the BJP national general secretary said.
Denying the allegation, West Bengal Urban and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said there is no "Rafale or Nirav Modi" in the state, and Banerjee heads a transparent government.
Earlier in the day, BJP MP Arjun Singh had claimed at least five TMC MPs are keen to switch over to the saffron party, while calling upon Suvendu Adhikari, who has been voicing displeasure with the TMC leadership, to also join.
"He (Adhikari) is being subjected to insults within the party just as I was heckled at one time," Singh, a former TMC MLA who switched over to the BJP before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, said.
He further said that Saugata Roy, TMC MP from Dumdum constituency, was also not averse to be a part of the saffron party.
Roy, however, denied the claim, contending that he would "rather die than join the BJP".
"I am in the TMC and will remain so," he said.