Two senior state BJP leaders Monday courted controversy by saying the party would follow the "Uttar Pradesh model" of giving free hand to the police to wipe out criminals in encounters, when it comes to power in West Bengal.
The ruling Trinamool Congress hit back asserting that it would never allow the BJP to convert West Bengal into a police state.
"After we are voted to power, we will ensure that criminals and extortionists will be thrown behind the bars or they will flee. We would follow the Uttar Pradesh model. The police would be given free hand, where criminals will die in encounters if they do not surrender," BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said.
It is alleged by political rivals that the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is relying on encounters to maintain law and order in the state.
Mr Basu's view were echoed by another party general secretary Raju Banerjee.
"We won't tolerate goonda raj and extortion in Bengal. The police would act against them and if needed will conduct encounters," he said.
The Trinamool Congress hit back, saying that it only reflects the mindset of the BJP that wants to convert West Bengal into a "police state".
"We are not at all surprised by such statements. This is their mindset. The party president of BJP (Amit Shah), during his tenure as Gujarat Home Minister was accused of planning fake encounters. So, if the BJP is voted to power, they would do the same thing in Bengal and would convert it into a police state," senior TMC minister Firhad Hakim said.
Buoyed by major gains in Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, the BJP leadership is aiming for more than two-third majority in the assembly elections due in 2021 and also for early polls in the state.
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won 18 out of the 42 seats in the state, up from its tally of only two seats in the 2014 elections. The party's vote share also zoomed to 40.25 per cent in 2019 from 17 per cent in 2014.