Monday, 30th October 2017

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Wounded tiger versus cat-and-mouse Delhi

Mamata accuses the BJP of hatching a larger conspiracy to give her government a bad name and then get rid of it

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 11.06.19, 6:10 AM
  • Updated 11.06.19, 6:10 AM
  • 3 mins read
Mamata Banerjee after the administrative meeting. The Telegraph picture

Mamata Banerjee on Monday said “a wounded tiger is more lethal than a dead tiger”, warning the BJP against toppling her government on a day New Delhi played a cat-and-mouse game that suggested it would keep the pot boiling but is wary of gifting her a sympathy-generating issue by pulling the plug.

The Bengal chief minister did not mention Sandeshkhali, the flashpoint that triggered a standoff between the Centre and the state, but accused the BJP of fomenting trouble and hinted that it was part of a larger conspiracy to give her government a bad name and then get rid of it.

“It’s a planted game, a game plan. They know that in Bengal, what Mamata Banerjee says, nobody else in India dares to say. That is why she must be silenced,” the Bengal chief minister told a news conference at Nabanna after an administrative review.

“(To) silence me, fell my government, such conspiracies are being hatched. BJP, remember, a wounded tiger is more lethal than a dead tiger,” Mamata said.

“Two or three incidents, orchestrated by the BJP…. After the elections, they now think they are God. Had God been here, he too would have been stunned…. Remember how we controlled the incidents. Two people die, they say five are missing, hence dead. Lies…. Our state is the very best. Our performance is number one in all of India,” she said.

After two days of strife, relative calm prevailed in Sandeshkhali on Monday, although fear hung over the villages.

“Many games are at play. They want to keep Mamata Banerjee from getting to the bottom of these games. Hence advisories (from the Union home ministry) are being issued now,” Mamata said.

She underscored the BJP’s attempts to use the mainstream and social media to draw national attention to the alleged state of lawlessness under her rule.

“Theirs is an elected government, mine is too. Elections here will take place after two years. The Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections are totally different, totally unrelated. They are peddling lies,” she said.

In New Delhi, Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah. “I have apprised the Prime Minister and the home minister about the ground situation in Bengal. I cannot disclose details. I have told them whatever I have to say,” Tripathi told reporters after meeting Shah.

Asked whether he had handed any report to the home minister on the situation in Bengal, the governor said: “No. I have not given any report. I have just apprised him about the situation.”

Around the same time, the BJP’s Bengal minder, Kailash Vijayvargiya, said: “The direction in which Bengal is heading and the way Mamataji is behaving, we have to think of something.”

But he hastened to add: “We don’t support President’s rule and are not demanding it. But if violence in Bengal continues and people continue to get killed, then we will have to sit, discuss and consider….”

In an interview, when India Today asked the governor whether there was a need for President’s rule in the state, Tripathi was quoted as saying: “There might be. When the demand comes, then the central government will consider. But I did not discuss anything on President’s rule with the Prime Minister or the home minister today (Monday).”

BJP insiders said the party was not thinking of taking the extreme step of imposing President’s rule as it could backfire politically. BJP leaders suggested the present strategy was to keep Mamata and Trinamul under pressure and intensify the anti-government atmosphere.

A BJP leader claimed: “The Lok Sabha result has rattled Mamata. She is committing one mistake after another. The government will collapse on its own. We don’t need President’s rule.”

He appeared to be hinting at possible desertions from Trinamul. “We have been successful in sending out the message that the Mamata Banerjee government won’t survive till the next Assembly polls,” he added.

In Calcutta, BJP leader Mukul Roy too clarified: “Neither are we demanding President’s rule nor do we have a plan to topple the Mamata Banerjee government…. Going by the election results, she should have resigned as the people’s mandate has clearly gone against her government.”

Roy added that the party was against Mamata being allowed to play the victim card.

According to sources, the BJP has lined up a slew of Sandeshkhali-related meetings, marches and visits by a central team and several senior central leaders. Leader after leader at the BJP national headquarters — such as Shahnawaz Hussain on Monday — would keep drawing the national media’s attention to the issue.