Leaflets calling for a social boycott of 18 villagers in Paschim Medinipur in West Bengal have triggered a controversy, with the saffron party alleging that the 18 were BJP workers and the leaflets were part of the “ongoing atrocities” committed against party workers by the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal after the Assembly polls.
The TMC, however, called the leaflets fake and claimed that it was an attempt by the BJP to malign the party.
Paschim Medinipur SP Dinesh Kumar said, “Police registered a suo moto case against unknown persons who have spread this rumour under relevant sections and investigation is on.”
The leaflets, which looked like computer printouts titled ‘Mahisda All India Trinamool Congress’ and named 18 people, appeared in the Mahisda area under Keshpur police station.
The leaflet, in Bengali, read, “Things cannot be sold to these people without the consent of the party. Even tea tea stall owners are informed that such people should not be served tea.”
The BJP’s state and national leadership called the incident shocking. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted, “This is shocking. Would urge CM @MamataOfficial to see that ALL citizens in West Bengal are protected and not ostracised or denied the basic. Otherwise, a true shame.”
BJP Rajyasabha member Swapan Dasgupta tweeted, “The blacklist prepared by a local unit of ruling party in West Bengal isn’t unique. Being active BJP workers of has been outlawed in the secular inquisition. The idea is to break morale & economic backbone of karyakartas.”
BJP state chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said “this is nothing new”. “Our party workers are facing atrocities throughout Bengal.”
According to sources, BJP supporters are among the 18 persons named in the list. But Panchu Mal (55), who is also named in the leaflet, said, “Some are BJP supporters while others are CPI(M) supporters. I am a CPI(M) supporter… today police came and told us that…if anyone tries to boycott us we can immediately inform them. Police went to the houses of all 18 persons. I have not seen any list but got to know about the boycott from a local tea shop owner.”
After speaking to local party leaders, TMC MP Dev Adhikari tweeted, “I have personally spoke with my party members of Keshpur after having seen this and they too have re confirmed that such notice has never been issued by any TMC party office/members…Please don’t unnecessarily try to malign the Party name.”
Siuli Saha, TMC MLA from Keshpur, said, “This is a pre-planned conspiracy by the BJP. I have asked our party members there to investigate and then lodge a police complaint against the miscreants.”
TMC Keshpur Block president Uttamananda Tripathi said, “The poster is not on our party letterhead. We first write the All India Trinamool Congress and then Mahisda. It is clearly fake and BJP is behind it.”