Hitting out at the centre over inclusion of Gujarati as a medium for conducting JEE (Main) exam, Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on Monday said efforts were on "to turn India into Gujarat" as both the prime minister and the Union home minister are from the western state.
Dismissing the claim, BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh said the "ruling party in the state was trying to make an issue out of a non-issue".
The TMC MP from Diamond Harbour said that his party, during the winter session of parliament, would fight against the "injustice meted out to Bengal and Bengalis" by the Union government.
The Trinamool Congress on Monday took out rallies across the state and a held a sit-in demonstration in the city to protest against the central government's alleged bias against regional languages in conducting JEE (Main) examination -- the gateway to engineering courses.
With posters and placards in hand, the party activists raised slogans against the BJP-led central government in almost all blocks and districts, demanding that Bengali be included as a medium for conducting the examination.
The ruling party claimed that states were not consulted before the decision was made, a charge dismissed by the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the test.
The NTA clarified that no state other than Gujarat had shown interest in a proposal sent in this regard.
"Efforts are being made to turn India into Gujarat. Just because the prime minister (Narendra Modi) and Union home minister (Amit Shah) are from that state, Gujarati has been included as medium for conducting JEE (Main) examination.
"But Bengali, which is the second-most widely spoken language in the country after Hindi, has been left out," the TMC MP, who is also the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said while addressing the sit-in demonstration here.
The centre's move not just reflected its bias against other regional languages, but also wronged students who wish to take their exams in Bengali, Abhishek said.
"We may have just 22 members in Lok Sabha but we will fight it out against the 303 members of BJP in the Lower House and ensure that Bengali gets listed as one of the languages for JEE (Mains) exam," the parliamentarian insisted.
Senior TMC leader and state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, who also took part in the demonstration in the city, appealed to the masses to continue their fight in a democratic way till their demands were met with.
"I hope the prime minister understands the qualitative difference between Gujarati and Bengali language, he said. Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had last week announced that her party would hold state-wide protests on this issue on November 11.
Insisting that she had nothing against Gujarati language, the Chief Minister said other regional languages should also be included in the list.
Praising the Trinamool chief for her efforts to tackle the effects of Cyclone ''Bulbul'', her nephew said people have now realised the mistake they made by voting for the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
"The people of Bengal have seen how Mamata Banerjee was awake all night to tackle the situation which arose out of the cyclone. They have also seen how self proclaimed "chowkidars" were nowhere to be found," he added.
BJP leaders had prefixed the word ''chowkidar'' (watchman) to their names on Twitter during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.
Slamming the Trinamool Congress over its allegations, the BJP state president said the Mamata Banerjee-led party was leveling baseless charges against the BJP.
"They are trying to create an issue out of a non-issue. Creating a row over language won''t be of any help to them," Mr Ghosh added.