The BJP in West Bengal celebrated 'Paschim Bangla Diwas' or the foundation day of the state on Sunday. Leaders of the party, led by Suvendu Adhikari, shared tweets on the occasion and organised a meeting outside the gates of the state assembly. They garlanded statues of the party icon Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and quoted him in their tweets, saying, "They have divided India. I have torn Pakistan to pieces."
Mr Adhikari, Leader of Opposition in the assembly, demanded that June 20 be declared a state holiday.
"Earlier, opposition parties did not raise the issue because they would have to then bring up the names of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and of 56 MLAs, including from Hindu Mahasabha. That would be politically problematic for them. But BJP will bring up the issue," he said.
The Trinamool Congress has dismissed the BJP's claims.
"Today is the Mourning Day for Bengalis. On this day in 1946, the Assembly passed resolution for the partition of Bengal at the instance of two communal parties - Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha, and ultimately the Congress had to accept as a fate accompli," said Sukhendu Shekhar Roy.
"BJP's claims of Syama Prasad Mookerjee being the father of Bengal is sheer distortion of history. He had joined hands with AK Fazlul Haque (Muslim League MLA of Bengal and 'prime minister' of the province) who moved the Pakistan Resolution at Lahore in 1940," Mr Roy said.
"They together formed the Syama-Haque Ministry in Bengal and opposed the Quit India Movement," he added.
The Lahore Resolution is also called the Resolution of Pakistan's Declaration of Independence.
As the debate rages, several BJP leaders tweeted with the hashtag #PaschimBongo Diwas.
"June 20 is West Bengal Day, the day in 1947(corrected) Bengali Hindus took the momentous decision to carve out a separate province in India to thwart the Muslim League bid to secure the whole of Bengal for Pakistan. There was a philosophy that shaped the decision and we must not forget it," tweeted Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta.
June 20 is West Bengal Day, the day in 1946 Bengali Hindus took the momentous decision to carve out a separate province in India to thwart the Muslim League bid to secure the whole of Bengal for Pakistan. There was a philosophy that shaped the decision & we must not forget it.— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) June 20, 2021
"You divided India, I divided Pakistan" -- Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee," tweeted BJP leader Anirban Ganguly, adding, "20th June on #West Bengal Foundation Day heartfelt gratitude to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee for his epic effort to prevent the whole of Bengal from going into Jinnah's Pakistan."
“You divided India, I divided Pakistan” - Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee— Dr. Anirban Ganguly (@anirbanganguly) June 20, 2021
20th June on #WestBengal foundation day heartfelt gratitude to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee for his epic effort to prevent the whole of Bengal from going into Jinnah's Pakistan.
The British first tried to divide Bengal in 1905 and were opposed by the people of the province, including Rabindranath Tagore. Officially, the British felt the Bengal province, which then included Bihar, Odisha and Assam, was administratively unwieldy. But historians say the British were worried by the growing nationalist movement in this part of the country.
In 1946, the partition plan, presented by Lord Mountbatten and published on June 3, was voted upon in the Bengal Assembly on 20 June. The non-Muslim MLAs voted for West Bengal to join India.