Union home minister Amit Shah attacked the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal on 20 December, saying people in the state were looking to get rid of corruption, extortion, Bangladeshi infiltration and political violence, a remark that came a day after seven sitting legislators of the Trinamool Congress joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in his presence at a rally in Midnapore.
Assembly polls in the state are due in five months and the defections could prove to be a challenge for Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
On 20 December, Shah’s convoy drove through Bolpur, the town associated with Rabindranath Tagore. Addressing people during the roadshow, Shah said his party will restore West Bengal’s old glory when it was called “sonar Bangla”.
On the second and last day of his Bengal tour, Amit Shah flew from Kolkata to Bolpur and held the political roadshow. A big crowd followed the roadshow.
“People are talking of parivartan (change). The change is needed to stop infiltration from Bangladesh, end political violence and extortion,” Amit Shah said. “I have come to promise you that the BJP will take Bengal ahead on the path of development. We will make Bengal realise the dreams of Subhas Chandra Bose,” he told the crowd at the end of the roadshow.
“The TMC can never stop infiltration as it believes in appeasement politics. Only BJP can stop it… Mamata Banerjee supports farmers protest but doesn’t allow cultivators of Bengal to get the benefits of central schemes. Is this the way to honour the federal structure?” he said.
Amit Shah attacked the Bengal government over the recent attack on BJP chief JP Nadda’s convoy, and asserted that the Centre had the right to summon state IPS officers responsible for providing him security for central deputation. He alleged that Banerjee failed to control the law and order situation in the state, which was rapidly falling on all development indices.
Responding to a question, the home minister said the rules for implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will be formulated after the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control. “Because of the corona, such a massive process can’t be carried out. As soon as Covid vaccination starts, we will discuss it,” he said.
“I have attended and organised several roadshows in my life but have never seen one like this. This roadshow is a reflection of people’s anger against the Mamata Banerjee government. This crowd reflects people’s faith in the agenda of development of Narendra Modi Ji,” Shah told the gathering.
Anubrata Mondal, the TMC’s district unit president, alleged that BJP had brought the people from as far as Jharkhand to make the roadshow appear like a success. “Let Shah come to Birbhum three times a week. I would want that because it will inspire our workers to work more,” Mondal said.