Amit Shah in Kolkata on Saturday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)
In a 25-minute speech in Kolkata Saturday, BJP president Amit Shah declared that he would visit every district of West Bengal to ensure Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is thrown out of power in the state.
“Mamata kaan khol kar sun lo, main Bangal ke har district me jaoonga (Mamata, listen to me carefully, I will visit every district in Bengal). And I will ensure that the BJP is brought to power,” Shah said at the beginning of his address to hundreds of supporters at the BJP Yuva Morcha rally in Mayo Road in central Kolkata. Mamata’s former lieutenant Mukul Roy had joined the BJP so that Mamata could be uprooted (“ukhaar dene ke liye”), Shah said.
“If you look at the history of the country and the world, you will find that every oppressor who has curbed freedom of speech and oppressed the common man, jisne awaaz ko dabaya hai, that person has inevitably fallen. The same will happen to the TMC in Bengal,” Shah said.
Trinamool Congress workers had surrounded the venue of Shah’s rally with hoardings and posters asking the “anti-Bengal” and “anti-Bengali” BJP to “go back”. The BJP chief sought to clarify in his speech that neither the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam — which Mamata has strongly criticised — nor the BJP itself was anti-Bengali. “How can she call us anti-Bengal? How can she call us anti-Bengali? When the BJP in fact was born in this state under our founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee?
“I have heard a TMC leader say that the BJP has established governments in 19 states — but that this will never happen in Bengal. I want to tell them that those 19 states don’t matter until and unless the BJP gets Bengal — the state of our birth. I appeal to you to make Bengal Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s Bengal. We worship the tenets of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. We are not Bengal-virodhi, we are Mamata-virodhi,” he said.
Shah mocked Mamata as “U-turn didi”, saying that in 2005, she had brought Lok Sabha to a halt with her demand that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh be turned out of the country. “And now she’s going all over Delhi opposing the NRC. I have come to tell you that we will throw every single illegal immigrant and foreigner out of the country — “hum chun chun ke videshiyo ko nikalenge”.
“If Bangladeshis illegally enter the country, you tell me, shouldn’t we turn them out?” he asked the crowd. “Mamataji, the NRC won’t stop by your trying. Our commitment is to complete the NRC process in Assam and to throw out every illegal immigrant. In 2005, Mamata wanted Bangladeshis to be thrown out, now she wants to keep them in India, in Assam, in Bengal,” Shah said.
The BJP president spoke of the various scams in which the TMC has allegedly been involved — Narada, Saradha, Rose Valley, etc. “If you want Bengal to be free of corruption, then give the BJP a chance under the leadership of Narendra Modi,” he said.
“The UPA, under the 13th Finance Commission, gave Bengal Rs 1 lakh 32,000 crore,” Shah said. “Under the 14th Finance Commission, the Modi government has given Rs 3 lakh 59,000 crore. But have you seen this money? Has it reached rural Bengal? Then where has this money gone? Bhatije aur syndicate ke pocket mein (into the pockets of the nephew and the syndicate),” Shah said, referring to Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
The Trinamool declared Shah’s rally to have been a “flop show”.
with the Express Morning Briefing