"Our Time To Smile, Mamata Banerjee's Rule Will End": Amit Shah In Bengal

Two hours after his press meet, the Trinamool Congress issued a statement accusing Amit Shah of visiting Bengal with "his baggage of lies."

Amit Shah concluded his 2-day trip in Bengal today

Kolkata:

"When I had said in 2018 at the Kolkata press club that we could get 22 seats in parliament, many people there had laughed. Today when I say BJP will get 200 seats in Bengal next year, I am happy to see no one in this room is laughing. Today it is my turn to smile."

Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah was upbeat as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Bengal to fix the organisational creases in BJP Bengal and boost morale ahead of Assembly elections due next year.

Two hours after his press meet, the Trinamool Congress issued a statement accusing Amit Shah of visiting Bengal with "his baggage of lies."

"His mission to defame and insult Bengal continues. The people of Bengal are ready to fight the battle, the people of Bengal will accept the challenge," a statement read.  

Trinamool dismissed Mr Shah's comments as 'dirty politics'. "His predictions have been historically wrong," the statement said.

At his press conference, Mr Shah was asked to confirm if BCCI Chief Sourav Ganguly or Trinamool minister Suvendu Adhikari were joining the BJP, as rumoured. His response, "Why stop at just these two names? There are many more names on the list. I have not spoken to anyone myself. But wait and see."  

These were among a few of the lighter comments made by Mr Shah. For the most part, the BJP leader launched a scathing attack on Mamata Banerjee and her party, saying they had institutionalized corruption, politicised the administration and criminalised politics.

"Why have no figures on crime been shared with the National Crime Records Bureau since 2018? What are you trying to hide?" he said.

He demanded a white paper on all political killings in Bengal, which he said had the worst record in the country. He alleged that 100 BJP workers had been killed in Bengal in the last two-and-a-half years and, in most cases, there were no FIRs, no arrests and no charge sheets.  

Mamata Banerjee's nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee was the repeated target of his attacks. In his opening comments at the press meet, Mr Shah said, "Mamata Banerjee has only one ambition, to make her nephew the next chief minister. Does Bengal want a dynastic rule?"  

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Also back strongly on his agenda against Mamata Banerjee, her alleged minority appeasement politics, which he said has left many people in Bengal feeling like "second grade citizens".  

Bringing his multi-pronged attack together, Mr Shah said, "In Bengal there are three laws, one law for the vote bank, or minorities; one law for the nephew; and one law for the rest of the ordinary citizens."  

"You (the people of Bengal) have given opportunity to the Congress, Left and Trinamool. Give us one chance. We promise to build 'Shonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) in five years. We will stop ghuspeti (inflitration) in Bengal, secure borders," he said.

On Thursday, at a public event in the state's Bankura district - a part of the tribal-dominated Jangalmahal area - Mr Shah claimed he sensed "massive public anger" against Ms Banerjee.

This evening, he said, "People feel BJP can change the scene in Bengal".

"In 2011, Bengal saw Parivartan (change) with Mamata Banerjee's slogan of Maa, Mati, Manush (Mother, Motherland, People). Bengal had high hopes then but now that slogan has turned into appeasement, autocracy and extortion," the Home Minister said.

He also hit out at the state government for allegedly blocking the Centre's welfare schemes, such as PM-KISAN Samman Nidhi, which gives farmers a Rs 6,000 grant per year, or Ayushmaan Bharat, which provides up to Rs 5 lakh in universal insurance cover.

Trinamool has dismissed Mr Shah's prediction of 200 seats for his party in Bengal.

"People have seen before how his predictions are. In the previous elections in Bihar in 2015, Delhi in 2015 and 2020, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, his predictions, his numbers was totally wrong. People will see it again in Bengal in 2021. Be rest assured Bengal has and will always stand up to protect India's soul," the statement said.