The Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the CPI(M) leadership on Friday lashed out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah after he had lunch at the house of a party worker from the Matua community. The Matuas are a Scheduled Caste community, and most of them are refugees from Bangladesh.
The Opposition parties labelled Shah’s outreach to the community a “poll gimmick”.
At the Dakshineswar Kali temple, the home minister criticised the TMC’s “appeasement politics”, saying it had hurt Bengal’s age-old tradition of upholding the nation’s spiritual consciousness. On Thursday, Shah had said he could sense the massive public anger against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and added that the death knell of her regime had been sounded.
Senior TMC leader and MP Saugata Roy said in response, “What does Amit Shah mean by appeasement politics? Was he speaking as a BJP activist or as the Union Home Minister of the country? The government has to treat all communities with equality and respect. I don’t think it is a crime to do something for the development of minorities in the state. Why is he not speaking about the State government’s decision to allow Durga Puja celebrations? Was it minority appeasement? I would want to say that communalism has no place in West Bengal. The people of the State will reject BJP’s divisive politics.”
His party colleague and state minister Firhad Hakim said it was a desperate attempt by Shah to “fool people”.
“In all BJP-ruled states, tribals, Dalits and those from the backward communities are being tortured. There are reports of atrocities everywhere. So this drama of having lunch at the house of a person from the Matua community is nothing but a poll gimmick before the Assembly elections. But he can’t fool people every time, and the Matuas are very well aware of the BJP’s double standards.”
TMC MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, “As far as your pronouncement of getting 200 seats in Bengal, people have seen before how your predictions are! In the previous elections in 2015, Delhi in 2015 & 2020, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, your numbers were all totally wrong. People will see it again in Bengal in 2021. Be rest assured Bengal has and will always stand up to protect India’s soul.”
The MP said the people of the state were “ready to fight the battle and will accept the challenge”. Echoing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s comments on Thursday, Roy said the Union minister was in Bengal to insult the people of the state. “Amit Shah visited Bengal again carrying his baggage of lies. His mission to defame and insult Bengal continues. And why do you always make wild personal accusations against Mamata Banerjee, especially when there is no basis? What credentials Mr Jay Shah has to suddenly hold one of India’s top administrative cricket posts? Or, what magic formula Mr Jay Shah had to become BCCI secretary out of nowhere?”
He went on to add, “And do you always misuse agencies? Your track record of misusing agencies is very well known, nationally and internationally. Your dirty tricks in politics are legendary. Everywhere you go you do your petty politics.” CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim also criticised Shah’s visit to the Matua family.
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