Hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that the Trinamool Congress will hold state-wide protests against the centre next week for making Gujarati an optional language in JEE (Main), an examination held to facilitate admissions in engineering, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Thursday dubbed her "Divider Didi" in a twin attack launched on social media.
The JEE, which stands for Joint Entrance Examination, is held annually to admit students to various engineering colleges across India.
Vijay Rupani claimed that his Bengal counterpart was trying to divide people on the basis of language. "Dear Divider Didi, the people of your state need development, not such divisive stunts. Now that the facts are out, you should apologise to the people for your lies!" he tweeted.
The BJP general secretary declared that Ms Banerjee's move will not bring her electoral success. "Dear Divider Didi, dividing people in the name of the language is not going to multiply your votes! To set the record straight, you never requested the exam to be held in Bengali!" Kailash Vijayvargiya said in his tweet.
The Trinamool leader had claimed that only making Gujarati optional for the JEE (Main) amounts to favouring the western state over others. "Not only Bengali, there is a discriminatory attitude towards all languages except one or two. On Monday, we will hold protest marches in every block of the state," she said, asking other states to follow suit.
Ms Banerjee maintains that her government was not informed about such a move, a charge that the National Testing Agency (NTA) - the body that conducts the examination - has denied. "If the central government is taking such a decision, they should have asked all the state governments. How would we know? Are we God? We are not God, so how do we know what is in their mind? They should have informed the state government, asked them to send it (a proposal for including regional languages for writing the test) in writing," she said.
The Trinamool Congress chief cited the controversy that had erupted after Union Home Minister Amit Shah pitched for making Hindi the common language of India to drive home her point. "India is a vast country with many languages, castes, creeds and religions. But one thing we should remember is that we are united, we are together because ultimately a united India is our motto," she said.
The NTA has, however, clarified in a press release that requests were sent to all states upon the launch of JEE (Main) in 2013.
(With inputs from PTI)