A day after a BJP worker was killed during the party’s protest march to the “Uttar Kanya” branch secretariat in Siliguri, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused the saffron party of “killing people in its rallies” and sought to know if it was done for propaganda.
The BJP called a 12-hour bandh to protest the death of 50-year-old Ulen Roy and accused the police of killing him while trying to quell the demonstration. Siliguri police, however, claimed that Roy suffered pellet wounds fired from a shotgun, and said it does not use such guns. The gun was fired from “a close range” by a person standing near him.
At a rally in Raniganj in Paschim Bardhaman district, Banerjee said, “The BJP lies, kills people; it holds rallies and kills people. Are you [BJP] doing it for publicity since there weren’t many people in the rally? The police do not use these… Did you kill a man with pellets for the sake of publicity, for propaganda? I appeal to the media to please cross-check when they [BJP] lie.”
The chief minister claimed that the saffron party indulges in “slander at the speed of a storm”, while her government engages in development work for people at a similar speed.
Tearing into the Opposition party, she said the “coal mafia was thriving under the saffron party”, and added that Trinamool Congress (TMC) would not allow the BJP-led Centre to sell government-owned coal mines.
“I had proposed that illegal [coal] factories be legalised jointly by the Centre and the state so that people get employment. The Union government, however, did not respond,” Banerjee claimed.
The TMC chairperson reiterated that she would never allow the BJP to transform Bengal like it did in Gujarat. “I respect Gujarat, but I will never allow BJP to make Bengal another Gujarat. BJP, you can sell everything but you will never get us to sell our movement.”
Responding to the BJP’s recent comments about implementing the amended citizenship laws, which have been criticised for allegedly discriminating against Muslims, the chief minister said, “Anyone residing in the state, no matter what his or her religion or language, belongs to Bengal. We will not allow any attempt to turn our state into Gujarat.”
Banerjee claimed that the BJP was using money and muscle power in the run-up to next year’s state elections. She claimed that the saffron party brings “goondas” from outside during the elections, and added that it has roped in numerous people who are now going door to door to carry out a divisive campaign.
“They are coming with huge money. If they give it to your bank account, spend it. But, remember, they will give you Rs 5,000. How many days will it help you?” asked the TMC chief.
Promoting her government’s welfare measures, the chief minister said her government had been providing free ration to everyone during the Covid-19 crisis. “Unlike the BJP that gives 5 kg rice until Bihar polls, I have extended free ration till next June. Our government will remain in power and you will not have to worry about food, you will not have to pay for food grains, healthcare or education,” she added.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee visited the office of the District Magistrate and oversaw a camp of the government’s “Duare Sarkar [Government at the doorstep]” campaign. She also distributed some “Swasthya Sathi” cards to some beneficiaries of the health scheme.
The chief minister claimed she had salvaged Chittaranjan Locomotive during her time as the railway minister. But now, the BJP government was planning to shut it down, she added.
“They will sell off Railways, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), BSNL, coal, defence. They will snatch food from the mouths of workers and the farmers,” she added.
— With PTI inputs
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