Last time when the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah addressed a political rally in the city he did the unthinkable. He came up with the slogan “Gali Gali main shor hain, Mamata Banerjee chor hain,” which was a scathing attack on the personal integrity of Banerjee, who, in her cotton sari and plastic sandals, made her political career portraying herself as a squeaky clean leader. Today, Shah took it a step ahead.
“Saradha’s money has been used in Barddhaman terror plot and the Trinamool leaders are hand in gloves with it,” Shah told a massive rally in the heart of the city, kick starting the party’s campaign for the civic body elections scheduled for early next year.
With a bird’s eye view on the upcoming civic polls, Shah said, “You elect a BJP mayor in Kolkata municipal polls, the reverse countdown for this government will start with that and a Trinamool-free Bengal will be achieved.” The Lok Sabha and the recent by-poll results have firmly entrenched the saffron brigade as the No 2 in the state.
Shah’s rally could not have come at a worse time for Banerjee. With the arrest of Srinjoy Bose, a TMC MP, the trail of Saradha scam has finally reached the doorsteps of the party. The blasts at Bardhaman and the subsequent investigations which indicates the presence of a deep terror network in the state has exacerbated problems for the party. The BJP president made full use of it by accusing Banerjee of practising vote-bank politics.
“Didi is trying to shield Bangladeshi jihadis for petty interests, she should remember that she represents West Bengal and not Bangladesh,” he said. Shah, on his part however, took a break from his speech when Namaz (prayers) started. “Let’s pause and not give Didi any excuse,” he said with a grin. West Bengal’s Muslim population stands at around 27%.
He also took a swipe at the TMC protest in parliament against the black money trail. “I want to ask the TMC leadership if the Saradha money was black or white, I want to ask Mamata who bought her paintings and for how much,” he said.
Attacking the state government for the dismal industrial scenario of the state, Shah said, “One after the other, factories are downing shutters across the state due to the inactivity of the government, tea gardens are closing down rendering around 16,000 people jobless,” he said.
Even before Shah landed in the city, the rally had grabbed headlines, primarily due to the TMC-led Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s refusal to give permission for it. The civic body and the fire services refused permission sighting technical deficiencies like failing to mention details of the dais.
The municipal corporation and the fire services were forced to grant permission after the Calcutta High Court asked the local agencies to ensure that the rally took place following guidelines.
Even a section of the TMC felt that the party “scored a self-goal” by being stubborn to stop the rally and had in turn made the BJP‘s case stronger. BJP alleged that attendance would have been much higher but TMC cadres had stopped thousands of supporters who were on their way to the rally. BJP had set a target of 2,00,000 for today’s rally and achieved around 1,30,000.
In a recent television interview Banerjee said that she did not who Amit Shah was. The BJP national president today replied to it saying, “ I am Amit Shah, a simple karyakarta of the party, and I will uproot TMC from Bengal.