- Cops or TMC, thrash them, throw them, I will be responsible: Dilip Ghosh
- "If you don't thrash them, I will say you are not really BJP," he added
- He is now accused of inciting violence, also directed at public servants
Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh has landed in controversy following his alleged remarks at a public rally inciting violence against the state police and the ruling Trinamool Congress. He has allegedly exhorted his party workers to thrash Trinamool activists and the police. He warned the police he would strip them naked and thrash them publicly. He also warned that if former Union finance minister P Chidambaram could be put behind bars, then Trinamool was small fry. "Just mosquitoes and flies," he said. The police have now filed a case against him, accusing him of inciting violence that's also directed at public servants.
"Police or TMC, thrash them, throw them, I will be responsible... I am saying if you don't thrash them, I will say you are not really BJP. You cannot be a BJP karyakarta," Mr Ghosh purportedly said at a rally at Mecheda in East Midnapore district on Monday night.
Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee condemned the outburst, accusing Mr Ghosh of having a vindictive mindset. "Such provocative remarks are aimed at disturbing the peace and stability of the state," he told reporters. CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty used just one word to describe the outburst: "Scoundrel".
But Mr Ghosh appears unfazed. He said the police had already filed 22 cases against him and he would continue to speak out if his party workers are attacked.
Over the last years, the state has been witnessing tit-for-tat accusations of violence between the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress. The BJP has even flagged the issue to Union Home minister Amit Shah and a Central advisory has been issued to the state government.
In videos from Monday's rally, Mr Ghosh is heard saying: "We (the BJP) taught a lesson to many people in the country. If your grandfather Chidambaram is eating rice in a jail, who are you? The man who was a home minister, a finance minister, today he has no place to sleep or have a bath. He has stolen thousands and thousands of crores of rupees. Today he is having to sleep on the floor. You are just a fly or a mosquito for me."
In a note of warning to policemen who were allegedly pandering to Trinamool leaders, Mr Ghosh repeated, "We don't forget in a hurry. If we forgot so easily, then Chidambaram would not be sitting in jail. Right? Everything is written in one notebook or the other."
"Parivartan is coming. Those who can't sense the change are thick skinned. Be very careful. You may be a TMC leader or a TMC chamcha (lackey) or a police chamcha, I will spare no one," he said.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who was arrested last week by the Central Bureau of Investigation, is being questioned in a case involving the INX Media, a television house. He has been accused of facilitating a huge infusion of foreign funds into INX Media in 2007, when he was Finance Minister, at the instance of his son Karti Chidambaram, who allegedly received kickbacks for his role.
The immediate trigger for Mr Ghosh's outburst is not known. Over the weekend, he was seen at Digha walking on beach front, chatting with tourists and getting "selfied". It seemed to be a "soft launch" of the BJP's campaign called "Cha Chakrey Dilip Da" which is to begin from September 3.
The campaign is being compared by many to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's "Didi Ke Bolo" and observers say it is designed to pitch Mr Ghosh as BJP's chief ministerial candidate in the 2021 Assembly elections. "But he has just blotted his copybook with this outburst," a political observer said.
There are suspicions that what enraged him is the number of cases slapped against BJP workers. After the panchayat polls, Mr Ghosh claimed 10,000 cases were filed against his workers, 1000 were arrested and 400 are still in jail. "Even I have been charged with murder under Section 307. If I start murdering people, then your whole clan will disappear," he said.
This is not the first time that Mr Ghosh has threatened the police with dire consequences. A case was slapped against him in June last year and again in December for similar comments.