Barely a week after TMC announced its decision to support the NDA government’s key reform legislation GST, the BJP in a surprise move on Friday stepped up its attack on the Mamata Banerjee government, saying West Bengal has become a “jihadi hub” and “safe haven for terrorists and extortionists”.
The BJP has also sent a three-member team to the state to get a report on the abduction of a teenaged girl — an issue the state unit has taken up to mount political pressure on Mamata and her party. The BJP has alleged that the accused in the abduction were being protected by a state minister.
With the move, the BJP wants to dispel the impression that the party is being soft on the TMC and its government because it is keen on its backing to clear the crucial legislation in the Rajya Sabha, where the NDA is in minority, in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning July 21.
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“BJP has been maintaining that politically it is the main rival of the TMC in West Bengal, ideologically we can never be together. But for governance purpose, the central government will be cooperating with the state in its development,” party secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said. “Otherwise, we will oppose the TMC tooth and nail and expose it.”
According to Singh, recent incidents, including abduction of young girls, terror activities and money laundering, “prove that the state has become a jihadi hub”.
“West Bengal is becoming a safe haven of terror. Jihadi training camps are running there,” Singh, a party co-incharge of the state, said while citing a report by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
He said the NIA report has mentioned that four districts — Murshidabad, Malda, Midnapore and Burdwan — have become a terror hub.
Flagging the case of the alleged abduction of a 14-year-old girl, he alleged that instead of probing it the local police was threatening the family, asking them not to register a case. Class 10 student Tuktuki Mandal was first abducted in February, released after a few days but went missing again in May. BJP alleged that the girl’s abductors were being protected by a minister in Mamata’s cabinet.
Singh refuted the charges that the BJP has taken up the case for communal polarisation in the area. “As we have taken up these issues, people are trying to give a communal angle to it. This is not the case. It is painful that small girls are being abducted and smuggled out under a woman CM,” Singh said.
Although the BJP had started a fierce political battle against the TMC in the state ahead of the civic polls earlier this year, the TMC’s support to the Centre on key bills — like the coal and mining bills — and the regional party’s decision not join the march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against the land Bill had triggered speculation that both parties are getting closer.