West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's purported conversation in an audio clip with a Trinamool Congress candidate for the Bengal election has sparked a controversy. In the audio, Ms Banerjee is heard asking her party's Sitalkuchi candidate to hold rallies with the bodies of four people killed in firing by security forces on April 10, news agency PTI reported.
Ms Banerjee's party has hit out at the BJP, claiming the rival party distorted the content of the audio clip to spread disinformation.
Citing the purported audio clip between Ms Banerjee and party candidate Partha Pratim Ray, BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya said the "Chief Minister is trying to instigate riots by asking her party leaders to take out rallies with bodies."
"She is heard asking her party candidate to frame the case in such a way that both the superintendent of police (of Cooch Behar) and other central forces personnel can be framed. Is this expected from a Chief Minister? She is trying to instil a sense of fear just for minority votes," Mr Malviya said, according to PTI.
BJP chief JP Nadda tweeted the audio clip, along with a direct attack on the Trinamool. "TMC signifies VULTURE CULTURE- of feasting on death for petty political gains. TMC should be ashamed of themselves," Mr Nadda tweeted.
TMC signifies VULTURE CULTURE- of feasting on death for petty political gains.— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) April 16, 2021
TMC should be ashamed of themselves. https://t.co/7X3idhNByP
Four people were killed in firing by security forces after violence broke out at a polling booth at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district when voting was going on in the fourth of the eight-phase Bengal election.
The Trinamool's Sitalkuchi candidate called the audio clip "bogus". "Such a conversation never took place. This audio clip is totally bogus. The BJP is just trying to confuse people before the fifth phase of polling," Mr Ray said.
Trinamool MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said the BJP is trying to spread misinformation. "The lies factory manager doesn't understand Bengali and no one translated the conversation for him correctly. There is nothing wrong in the conversation between the party leader and her district leader."
Over a crore voters are deciding the winners and losers from a pool of 342 candidates today as they vote in 45 assembly constituencies in the fifth phase.
Some key candidates in this phase are Siliguri mayor and Left Front leader Ashok Bhattacharya, state ministers Gautam Deb and Bratya Basu, and BJP's Samik Bhattacharya.