BJP's move was in response to a sit-in by ruling Trinamool Congress MLAs. (Representational)
The Trinamool Congress on Friday termed the washing of Ambedkar statue with 'ganga jal' by BJP in the Assembly premises as an insult to tribal, OBC and women MLAs of the TMC and announced protests on December 2 against alleged atrocities against weaker section and minorities under the "saffron ecosystem".
In a press meeting, jointly addressed by state Parliamentary Affairs minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, TMC Deputy Chief Whip Tapas Roy, TMC ministers Chandrima Bhattacharya and Birbaha Hansda, the Trinamool Congress said by resorting to such "cheap stunts" the BJP is trying to hush up its "poor track record in safeguarding the rights" of dalits, OBCs, minorities and civil liberty activists.
"Did the BJP ever show respect to Dalits, to women by any action and words of its leaders in past? A BJP leader even made disparaging comments against a popular tribal leader like Birbaha Hansda who is also a woman. And now they are raising the outrageous point about B R Ambedkar's statue being sullied by the presence of our legislators, who include women and tribals and OBCs. This is an insult to women and tribals and other backward castes," Bhattacharya said.
Roy said in protest against the "blatant insult of BJP to the weaker sections of society in the state," the TMC will organise protests on December 2 in which women and dalits in large numbers will take part in large numbers.
In a jibe at BJP, Chattopadhyay wondered how "those who are violating Constitution by every means in this country, can be self-proclaimed custodians of the values espoused by Ambedkar. How come those who are Dalit and minority baiters, can talk about protecting Ambedkar's values."
Condemning BJP's act to "cleanse" the statue of Ambedkar in the assembly premises, he said "This House belongs to the Speaker, who is the custodian of legislature. By not taking the Speaker's consent before staging events before the media, and having no links with the House, the BJP is proving it is consistent in violating the rules and regulations of the Constitution.
Taking exception to the claims of BJP MLAs that the statue of Ambedkar was tainted in the presence of "corrupt TMC MLAs," Hansda said "Such comments are unfair. Are we thieves? Leaders like Suvendu Adhikari has sought to tarnish the image of all TMC legislators who sat on dharma at Ambedkar's statue. He was himself an accused in scams years back. Instead of holding the mirror to himself he is maligning all of us." Hansda said after the December 2 protest, there could be bigger ones in future when "tribals will hit the streets." To a question, Roy said the December 2 protests will also be on the issue of BJP "dishonouring" national anthem on November 29 in the assembly.
Already FIRs had been lodged against 11 BJP MLAs on charge of sloganeering and whistling when TMC MLAs, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, were singing the national anthem on November 29.
BJP MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Friday washed the statue of B R Ambedkar with Ganga water in the West Bengal Assembly premises.
The symbolic move was in response to the two-day sit-in by ruling Trinamool Congress MLAs, led by the chief minister on November 29, at the base of the statue to protest "BJP government at Centre's discrimination towards West Bengal in connection with releasing central funds and implementation of Central projects." West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay told reporters he will ask the Marshal to seek Adhikari's response about the reason behind washing the Ambedkar statue with Ganga water.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)