Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has dismissed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oblique warning about alleged political violence in the state, accusing the BJP of muckraking before next year’s assembly elections.
Accusing PM Modi and Amit Shah of “raising the pitch”, Trinamool’s Sougata Roy said, “The BJP narrative on political violence is wrong. Trinamool does not believe in politics of violence”.
“The BJP claims political violence even in case of death by suicide,” Mr Roy said. On November 1, after a 34 year old man was found hanging from a tree at Gayeshpur in Nadia district, the BJP claimed he was their party supporter and had been murdered by the Trinamool Congress. His family denied party links or the possibility of any foul play.
There was similar outcry over the death of a BJP leader in East Midnapore on 29 July and a CPM MLA who had joined BJP on 13 July. Both were eventually confirmed to have died by suicide.
The BJP’s policy is to “throw mud and hope some of it will stick”, the Trinamool MP added.
At the Bihar victory celebrations in New Delhi last evening, PM Modi, without naming Bengal or its Chief Minister, spoke of “those indulging in politics of murder”, who, he said, are “not acceptable in a democracy”.
“Those unable to challenge us, some of those people have adopted the path of murder of our workers. In some parts of the country they think that by killing BJP workers they will fulfill their ambitions. I do not think I need to warn them, because in a democracy, the people speak,” PM Modi said.
“Elections come and go there are victories and defeats – today someone will sit in power tomorrow someone else, but this game of murder cannot be accepted in a democracy. By playing with death you cannot get a mandate – see the writing on the wall,” he said.
With Bengal high on its list of coveted states since the 2014 assembly elections, the BJP has been trying to expand its footprint in the state. Its efforts were rewarded last year as the party won 18 of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats.
But over this period, the party has made multiple allegations of political violence in the state, targeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the killing of its workers. Over the last two-plus years, more than 100 BJP workers have been murdered in Bengal, the party has alleged.
This was one of the big campaign points in last year’s Lok Sabha elections and is likely to be retained for next year’s state polls.