KOLKATA: A war of words broke out on Thursday between Union Home minister Amit Shah and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the first day of the former's West Bengal visit.
In his first visit to the state since the 2021 Assembly elections, both the leaders were involved in a blistering attack on each other over several issues ranging from implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) to corruption in Bengal.
Shah said the Trinamool Congress was misleading people about the contentious CAA and it would be implemented once the Covid-19 waves subsidies. Mamata hit back saying the Act would not be implemented in Bengal. "The BJP is practicing divisive politics. The people of Bengal already rejected it," she said while replying to Shah’s announcement.
While addressing a rally in Siliguri, Shah said, ‘’The TMC is misleading people by saying we will not be able to implement the CAA. I would like to make it clear that the CAA would definitely be implemented once the Covid-19 situation subsides.’’
Referring to the 2011 Assembly elections in which Mamata stormed back to power for the third straight term, Shah said the BJP accepted the verdict of Bengal’s electorates. ‘’We took our tally to 77 from three in the Assembly elections one year ago. We waited for a year as we thought she would rectify herself after coming to power for the third time. But nothing changed. The people of the state are still facing atrocities of the ruling party, corruption, killing of BJP workers and syndicate system and cut-money collection. Don’t think the BJP would be sitting idle. Our party will continue fighting against the misrule till you will vote against the ongoing anarchy,’’ Shah said while addressing a public rally in Siliguri in north Bengal where the saffron camp bagged victory in seven seats out of eight.
BJP’s performance in the 2021 Assembly elections is considered to be a poor show as all heavyweights of the saffron camp, including Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had claimed that the party would win more than 200 seats out of 294.
Referring to Bengal’s infiltration issue, Shah said such a political situation would emerge in Bengal when the police and other law enforcement agencies of the state will join hands with the Border Security Force (BSF).
Replying to it, Mamata hit out at the Union Home minister saying, ‘’Will he create such a situation in Bengal? Will he be the conspirator? It will never happen. Don’t ask the BSF to overrule the state.’’
The Centre recently amended the BSF Act to authorize the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, instead of 15 km from the international border in West Bengal, Punjab and Assam. Mamata has been strongly opposing the move.
Referring to Shah’s statement in the Parliament expressing his fear of being killed if someone visits Bengal, Mamata said such a comment hurts her as West Bengal is a far better state in India.
Shah inaugurated six floating border outposts of BSF in Hingalganj, North 24 Parganas, which shares riverine borders with Bangladesh.