KOLKATA: The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on Wednesday said that the Centre announced former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's name for Padma Bhusan as the BJP was eyeing Left votes in the state.
The announcement of Bhattacharjee's name for the award shows the understanding between CPI(M) and BJP, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh claimed.
"There is more to it than what meets the eye. Why Bhattacharjee was suddenly chosen by BJP? It shows the understanding between CPI(M) and BJP. The move was aimed at securing Left votes for BJP candidates in the upcoming elections," he claimed.
Soon after his name was announced by the Centre, Bhattacharjee declined to accept the award.
CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said Bhattacharjee's decision was in line with the party's stand to not accept any such state-instituted award and nothing else should be read into it.
Hitting back at the TMC, BJP said Ghosh's statement showed how the ruling party creates controversy in everything.
"The decision by the Centre was prompted by the consideration that Bhattacharjee has contributed to society, and political movements. He is also known to be a well-cultured person and penned many books. The decision was obviously taken without any political motive," BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said.
BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, "The twist given by TMC to an apolitical issue shows how the party creates unnecessary controversy in everything. They cannot even leave the Padma awards."
The Congress said no right-minded person will believe that the CPI(M) has an understanding with the BJP.
"Instead, it was the TMC which had been a part of the NDA," state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said an award announced by a government "which is run by a party peddling hatred and divisive ideology" cannot be accepted by a secular person who believes in Communism.
State Minister Firhad Hakim said, however, said, "All the luminaries of Bengal who declined the Padma awards -- either Padma Shri or Padma Bhusan -- have shown they have spine and cannot be bought."