Taking exception to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s “TMC government ko ukhad ke phek do” remarks, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked who will end up getting uprooted, given the rise in onion and potato prices in the country.
Addressing BJP workers in Bankura earlier in the day, Shah said: ““I want to appeal to the people of Bengal to uproot (ukhad ke phek do) the TMC government and give the BJP an opportunity to form the next government. We will transform the state into Sonar Bangla (mythical golden Bengal).” The state will go to the Assembly polls in the next six months.
A few hours later, Banerjee said, “Ore bolchhe hamein ukhar ke fek denge… Alu aur piyaj ka daam bar rahe hai. Jab piyaj aur alu nehi milega, kaun kisko dekhega, kaun kisko ukhar ke fekega (They are saying that they will uproot us (from power). Prices of potatoes and onions are rising. When onions and potatoes are out of reach, who will see whom, who will uproot whom?” She was virtually addressing an administrative meeting from the state secretariate.
“What will happen if I also give the same ‘ukhaad ke phenk do’ remark. I know it won’t be good for them also,” said Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief.
“I can understand what ‘Ukhad ke phenk do’ means. I have a good knowledge of Hindi. So, in response, if I say the same thing, will that be good? Let good sense prevail before Diwali,” she said.
She further criticised Shah, “He is taking lunch at Bankura, and the Central agencies are carrying out raids at Asansol, Purulia and Durgapur. What a plan! (US President Donald) Trump will face defeat if challenged by him (Amit Shah).” On his two-day state visit, the Union minister on Thursday shared lunch with a tribal family in Bankura and is scheduled to be hosted by a Matua family, falling under the Scheduled Caste category, on Friday.
Hitting out at the Central government after recent multiple raids by the Central agencies in the state, the CM said, “Without informing the State government, the Central agencies are carrying out raids. The Central and state governments have separate jurisdictions. You (Centre) do not cross your limits, and we won’t cross ours.”
Banerjee asked BJP leaders to desist from threatening IPS and IAS officer in press conferences. “Earlier, to pressure former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajib Kumar, his wife was transferred to a remote place. Like that, many officers have been threatened.”
With the BJP facing allegations of “outsiders” in the state politics, she said, “We have always given respect to others. Bengal has its own nationalism. But if some peoples who are outsiders and trying to destroy our state then, we will not spare them. I would like to tell them that Bengal will not keep quiet, if someone abuses our state continuously.”
Meanwhile, the TMC said Shah’s visit to the state and lunch with the tribal family would have little impact on the upcoming Assembly polls, and termed “day-dreaming” his optimism that the BJP would win a two-thirds majority.
“The BJP is trying to woo tribals and Matuas because it knows it has no base in the two communities. It is in a weak position in Bengal and Shah knows it. Their leaders are quarrelling among themselves, and they do not have a CM face. Shah’s visit is a sign of desperation on the part of the BJP. However, neither his visit nor him having food at tribal and Matua residences will have any impact in Bengal,” said TMC MP Sougata Roy told The Indian Express.
“He seems to be daydreaming. People of Bengal understand that the BJP is not to be trusted, and Shah is here to only deliver hollow promises,” said Roy.
Referring to the controversy around exisiting and proposed citizenship laws, TMC MP Mahua Moitra said if elected, the BJP government will seek people’s documents to verify their citizenship.
“Beware Bengal… The same man who comes to your hut today, washes your feet & eats with you on the floor if voted to power will demand to see your papers!” she tweeted.
State urban development minister Firhad Hakim said the BJP remembered tribals and scheduled castes only during election time. “Shah is here to enact a drama. People of Bengal know what kind of party the BJP is. People of Bengal are with Mamata Banerjee,” he said.
“It is Mamata Banerjee who has been with the Matuas for years. It was Mamata Banerjee who renovated late Matua head Boroma’s (Binapani Devi) house. Who set up a board (welfare board) for Matuas and a university? It was Mamata Banerjee. Now suddenly, Amit Shah is trying to woo the Matuas. What did they ever do for the Matuas? Matuas like all other people of Bengal are with Mamata Banerjee,” said Hakim.
TMC MP and head of party’s youth wing Abhishek Banerjee claimed in a tweet: ‘In just a year, atrocities against STs quintupled in BJP-led UP & brutal rape of a Dalit girl in Hathras is still fresh in our minds. Rather than having fake appeasement meals, @AmitShah why don’t you speak up on actual issues that matter to the community. #BanglaBirodhiAmitShah.”
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