Calcutta, June 16: Hardly a day passes now without Mamata Banerjee making a reference to the BJP — an unwitting acknowledgement that a party once considered a minnow is finally worthy of her relentless attention.
Today, Mamata Banerjee cautioned the Congress about the rise of the BJP in Bengal and announced a tit-for-tat visit of a team of Trinamul parliamentarians to BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh where a tribal girl was gang-raped.
In the Assembly today, the chief minister accused the CPM and the BJP of trying to create disturbance in Bengal. She referred to Saturday’s murder of four Trinamul workers in South 24-Parganas’ Raidighi and the killing of the president of Northbrook Jute Mill in Hooghly yesterday.
“Remember, the CPM and the BJP can become friends. But you (Congress) cannot do so. Neither can we,” Mamata said, pointing towards Congress MLA Manoj Chakraborty.
“I am telling you, your political existence is at stake,” she added, this time addressing the Congress benches.
Chakraborty, a former minister, had demanded a CBI probe into the killing of H.K. Maheshwari, the president of Northbrook Jute Co. Ltd who was battered to death yesterday by a section of workers.
Mamata told the Assembly that a conspiracy was being hatched to destabilise peace in Bengal ever since the new government was formed in Delhi.
“A conspiracy is at work everywhere ever since the new government was formed. A whisper campaign is onů. Should I mention the name of the two parties? The BJP and the CPM have unions there. The murder was pre-planned,” she said, referring to the jute mill killing.
According to sources, the improved performance of the BJP in Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls has worried the ruling party. Mamata had on June 9 advised a Left delegation on ways to counter the BJP when the team had called on her at Nabanna to complain about alleged “Trinamul terror”.
The BJP has in the past fortnight sent two central teams to Bengal after its supporters were allegedly attacked by suspected workers of the ruling party. The move indicated the BJP’s focus on Bengal, where its vote share has risen from 6.5 per cent in the 2011 Assembly polls to 16.8 per cent in the general elections this time.
The visits had yesterday prompted the chief minister to say she would also send her teams to BJP-ruled states if there were incidents of violence there. Today, she told the House that a Trinamul team would visit Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh where a tribal woman was gang-raped yesterday.
Today, the Raidighi murders and the Northbrook killing came up for discussion in the Assembly after parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee placed a motion in which the “CPM harmads and the BJP” were blamed for both the incidents.
Mamata also blamed “unruly sections of workers owing allegiance to particular political parties” for the jute mill murder.