Union Home minister P Chidambaram was on Thursday critical of the Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal, saying that 82 people were killed in 455 cases of inter-party clashes in the last six months which was 'a matter of concern', drawing protest from the 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".
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."
Later, speaking to reporters at the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) office, Chidambaram said, "I did not point out law and order in West Bengal. What I said was about inter-party clashes in the state, and which existed in 2010 and in 2011 during elections and still exists."
Chidambaram, who held an hour-long meeting with PCC leaders and PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya, said, "Inter-party clashes are not a way in a democracy. Inter-party clashes are not acceptable in a democracy. Rather, discussions, debates and arguments are acceptable in a democracy."
Sharply reacting to this, Panchayat minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee said 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," Mukherjee said.
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)."