Trinamool Congress Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote an angry letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram for his comments on inter-party clashes in her West Bengal.
Mr Chidambaram yesterday was critical of the Trinamool government, saying that 82 people were killed in 455 cases of inter-party clashes in the last six months which was 'a matter of concern'. This had led to Ms Banerjee's party -an ally of the Congress-led UPA - calling it a 'threat'. Quoting statistics, Chidambaram, addressing the members of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, said 1,112 people were also injured in the inter-party clashes which was "a matter of concern and should come to an end". Ms Banerjee in her letter to Mr Chidambaram described the statistics as "incorrect".
He said there should be a democratic way to protest which is not through violence. "Before we ask Maoists to abjure violence, we must follow the same."
Sharply reacting to this, Panchayat minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee said Mr Chidambaram had provided 'distorted' figures.
"It's an unwanted statement and can be treated a threat from the Centre. It's a ploy to create pressure before the presidential elections," Mr Mukherjee said.
Mr Mukherjee said, "Chidambaram has no authority to speak on law and order which is a state subject and we think his comments will only provide oxygen to the CPI(M)."
Ms Banerjee has not had the best of relationships with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, with the latest row being over the Presidential candidate. The Congress and its candidate for President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, have appealed to Ms Banerjee to vote for him in the election on July 19. She had campaigned heavily for a second term for former President APJ kalam, but he decided not to run. Ms Banerjee has said her decision on who to support will be taken 72 hours before the election. She is the only ally of the Congress who has not offered her support to Mr Mukherjee, who will take on PA Sangma in the election.