PM's Big Charge Against Mamata Banerjee, INDIA Bloc Over Sandeshkhali

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Bengal government and the chief minister of shielding Trinamool Congress strongman Sheikh Shahjahan.

The Trinamool Congress has suspended Shahjahan for six years.

In a sharp attack on the Trinamool Congress over the Sandeshkhali issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused the party of shielding its leader Sheikh Shahjahan, who has been arrested amid allegations of sexual assault and land grab.

Addressing an event in West Bengal's Arambagh on Friday, PM Modi said the people of the state were asking whether the votes of "some people" were more important to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee than the suffering of women in Sandeshkhali. He also hit out at the opposition INDIA alliance and questioned its leaders' "silence" on the issue.  

Referring to the Trinamool Congress' slogan of 'Maa, Maati, Manush' (Mother, Land, and People), the PM said in Hindi, "What has been done to the women in Sandeshkhali by the Trinamool Congress, which keeps talking about 'Maa, Maati, Manush', has made the entire country sad and angry. (Reformer) Raja Ram Mohan Roy's soul must be in tears because of the deeds of these people."

"A Trinamool leader crossed all limits of audacity with women in Sandeshkhali and when they spoke up and sought help from Mamata didi, she and the Bengal government did everything in their power to shield him. It was because of pressure from the BJP leaders, who fought for the women and even braved assaults on their behalf, that the Bengal Police was forced to arrest the accused yesterday," he added.

Insisting that someone must have been trying to save Shahjahan since he was on the run for nearly two months, the PM exhorted people to answer every injury with their vote, saying, "Har chot ka jawaab vote se dena hai".

Attacks on INDIA

With just weeks to go for the Lok Sabha elections, the PM also trained his guns on leaders of the INDIA alliance and said," They have shut their eyes, ears and mouth, just like Gandhiji's three monkeys. They hold meetings together in Patna, Bengaluru, Mumbai and other places, but did the Left or the Congress dare to seek any answers from the chief minister or the Bengal government?"

After a Congress delegation had been stopped from visiting Sandeshkhali last month, party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had called Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee the "Bengali queen of cruelty" and accused her of having spoken out in Shahjahan's favour earlier.

Accusing Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge of having said that "things like this keep happening in Bengal", the PM asked whether that wasn't an insult to the state, its people and its tradition.

"This is the truth of the Congress and the INDIA bloc. The INDIA alliance's only aim is to support people who believe in corruption and the politics of appeasement and dynasty," the Prime Minister said.

Arrest, Suspension

Sheikh Shahjahan, a local Trinamool strongman was arrested on Thursday after women in Sandeshkhali accused him and his aides of sexual assault and land grab. He had been on the run since an Enforcement Directorate team was attacked by a mob during a raid on his house in connection with an alleged ration scam on January 5.

The arrest, which was in connection with the mob attack, came days after the Calcutta High Court had pulled up the Bengal police for letting Shahjahan roam free.

Insisting that the leader had been arrested immediately after the court had clarified that there was no stay on doing so, the Trinamool Congress had suspended him from the party for six years on Thursday.