KOLKATA: Firhad Hakim, considered to be Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee's trusted political lieutenant charged the BJP with targeting his religious identity in a bid to further its politics of polarisation and lambasted the saffron party for claiming he would turn the state into a "mini Pakistan".
He asserted that he was a nationalist and attempts to polarise politics was against the spirit of the Indian constitution.
"I am a nationalist and I am a 100 per cent Indian," Hakim told PTI in an interview.
"I will die an Indian and my grave will be on this soil. However, for the sake of polarisation they (BJP) label a person as a Muslim or as a Pakistani. This is against (spirit of ) the Constitution, against the pride and ethics of India," Hakim, nicknamed `Bobby by his father after Australian cricketer Bobby Simpson, said.
The 62-year politician also said the BJPs face in Bengals election has been that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in a "joint partnership", and charged that the party lacked any visible agenda for the elections and instead focussed on personal attacks on Mamata Banerjee and other TMC leaders.
"The BJP is being run by Modi and Shah through a joint partnership. They have brought down elections to a new low by attacking Mamatadi and other leaders of our party personally. Only personal attacks cannot be politics. Where is their (BJP's) agenda for West Bengal?," he said.
Unwinding at his Chetla residence after hard days campaigning, Hakim, who has spent over 35 years in politics, also accused the BJP leadership of "using" agencies like CBI and Income Tax to "harass" their political opponents.
"The central agencies are active during the elections at the behest of the BJP, he charged, adding that while he had the highest regards for agencies like CBI, ED, etc, doubts had now arisen.
"Unfortunately, after Modi came to power, the BJP-led central government has started using the CBI, the I-T to harass the opposition not only in Bengal but all over the country for political reasons resulting in people are losing faith in these organisations," Hakim alleged.
He claimed several of his party colleagues have switched over to the BJP as they were "threatened and blackmailed" by the saffron party with threats of "framing them using the central agencies against them".
Hakim alleged that the BJP had tried a similar ploy with him too but he did not give in.
There is a blackmail factor. The BJP also tried it on me but I did not succumbed to their pressure, he said, adding he knew the story behind many people who had defected to BJP from TMC.
He also considers the rise of BJP in Bengal as more dangerous than the years of Left Front rule, as he feels the rise of the saffron party, will give rise to communalism and vitiate the secular ethos of the state.
"The rise of BJP in Bengal is very dangerous. It is because BJP means communalism, retardation, unemployment.
BJP's rise is more dangerous than the Left rule," Hakim said, alleging that the law and order in Uttar Pradesh and other states under the BJP-rule was far poorer than Bengals.
Asked whether he was finding this year's assembly elections tougher compared to the earlier ones Hakim said in an anguished tone: "Do you consider this as an election? The electoral battle we fought against the CPI(M) was political but now there is no politics.
(Now) It's only BJPs dirty strategy to spread canards and they stoop to any level. They are using the media, social networking platforms etc, to spread false propaganda .
Explaining who are "bahiragata" (outsider), a term used by TMC's as a poll plank, Hakim said "people who are frequenting the state and have zero knowledge about the culture of the Bengalis fall in that group".
"Bahiragata are those whom the BJP are bringing from other states for the elections. They have neither any idea about Bengali language nor of our culture. They are simply trying to inject communalism.
"Some of the BJP men came to my constituency and said that Bobby Hakim is a Dhakaiya (a person Bangladesh's capital city) it shows how they are trying polarisation in my area. They are living in a fool's world, Hakim said. Religion cleans your soul and it must not be played out on the streets. The BJP is using Lord Ram politically.
I can tell only them `Dekho o deewano aisa kaam na karo Ram ka naam badnam na karo (O people, dont misuse Lord Rams name)."
Hakim, who is pitted against BJP's Awad Kishor Gupta and Congress' Mohammed Mukhtar, also expressed confidence of winning the elections and went on to claim "It will be a win for Mamata Banerjee with an absolute majority.On May 2, we are looking forward to a hat-trick. BJP's politics of polarisation, communalism will not help them."