The Trinamool Congress once paved the way for the Bharatiya Janata Party to have a toehold in West Bengal and is allowing the latter to gain ground yet again, the former Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has said.
“Do remember that it was the Trinamool Congress which led the BJP by the hand into West Bengal. If the BJP is again able to attain power at the Centre, the Trinamool Congress will again join hands with the party and bring them here in West Bengal,” Mr. Bhattacharjee, who is also a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said at a party rally here on Sunday.
Mr. Bhattacharjee questioned the decision of the Trinamool government announcing an honorarium for imams, pointing out that no government had ever announced such a scheme.
“From the speeches made by BJP leaders in recent times, I do believe that they have left the door open. In this State, just as the Congress and the Trinamool had come together, the BJP and the Trinamool shall join hands…What prompted the Trinamool government to announce an honorarium for imams in the State? It has only made grounds for the BJP,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said.
He also accused Ministers and MLAs of the Trinamool for “leading the way” in running extortion rackets.
“In every locality of the city they have formed several Durga Puja committees. These committees collect lakhs and crores of rupees. These committees are headed by either a minister or a MLA [of Trinamool Congress]. And these committees are collecting money from the locals. Is this not extortion” asked Mr. Bhattacharjee.
He said that he often wondered why anti-social elements, those who ran extortion rackets or were a threat to the security of women were suddenly doing so with impunity.
“There were anti-social elements even when we were in power. But the attitude of the government is very important. If the government itself excuses these crimes as ‘staged incidents’ then criminals will certainly be emboldened,” said Mr. Bhattacharjee referring to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s remarks after the Park Street rape, which she had dismissed as a “staged incident.”
Biman Bose, State Secretary of the CPI(M) who is also a member of the Polit Bureau, spoke about the stance taken by the Trinamool government to oppose the two-day all-India strike called by central trade unions on February 20-21. “We say to this government, do not play with fire. There will be a general strike on February 20-21 everywhere and none will be able to stop it,” he said.