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In Didi's den, Amit Shah blows bugle for 2019, blames her for polarisation

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 26 April 2017, 19:27 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah on Wednesday took on Mamata Banerjee in her own den when he visited Bhabanipur, the West Bengal Chief Minister's Assembly constituency.

Shah began his 'booth chalo abhiyan' at Chetla Lockgate and visited around five households in the locality.

Criticising Banerjee's administration, he said that instead of taking up measures for the amelioration of the condition of the people of Bengal, the government was indulging in appeasement of minorities and blatant vote bank politics.

He said, “It is due to Banerjee's appeasement politics that the state has seen religious polarisation, which was never the case in Bengal,” adding that the BJP was “confident of increasing our seats in the 2019 elections from West Bengal. In the last Assembly election in Bhabanipur, our vote share has increased”.

Shah implored the people of the state to vote for the BJP in the next elections, and said only his party would be able to bring the state on the path of development.

Shah's claims

Refuting the charges levelled by Banerjee that the Centre was denying the state's dues, Shah gave an account of the schemes that the Central government had taken for the state's development, and also gave figures on that money the Centre has spent for various programmes for the alleviation of poverty and unemployment from West Bengal.

He mentioned that while the state's outstanding loan to the Centre and other financial institutions stood at Rs 1.92 lakh crore after the end of the Left Front's rule in 2011, the figure has now soared to Rs 3.5 lakh crore under the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) regime.

While West Bengal's deposits in Indian banks were 18% during the CPI(M)-led years, the figure went down to 12.8%, and now, under Banerjee's rule, has further fallen to 6.3%.

Bengal's economic growth is now 4%.

While per capita consumption of power all over the country is 957 units, in West Bengal, it is 609 units.

Every fifth person in West Bengal is Below Poverty Line.

Shah insisted that Bengal's economy was in a pathetic state. “Trust the BJP and the party will be able to turn the tables,” he said.

CM responds with figures

While Shah challenged the state government to prove him wrong if the figures he quoted were incorrect, Banerjee, on the other hand, claimed in Alipurduar that agricultural growth in West Bengal stood at 6%, compared to 1.1% for the country as a whole. She also claimed that Bengal's industrial growth was at 10.95%, compared to 3.7% across India.

The CM said: “They (BJP) are telling lies. I can assure you that I have given accurate figures. They are jealous of West Bengal's development, and so, they are trying to portray a wrong picture in front of the masses.”

Other burning issues

On Banerjee's alleged appeasement of minorities, Shah said: “The state is wallowing in gross backwardness and underdevelopment, but Didi is resorting to appeasement of minorities, vote bank politics and corruption. Mamataji, you may shout at the top of your voice and torture our party workers, but the louder you shout at us, the faster the lotus will bloom.

“I cannot imagine that people had to go to the Calcutta High Court for permission for the immersion of Durga idols. Even Saraswati Puja is being stopped by the state administration. The AITC will have to answer for all this. We are sure that in 2019, the lotus will fully bloom in the state, and our party will get the maximum number of seats from West Bengal.”

Shah slammed the ruling party for getting involved in scams like Saradha and Narada, and said it would have to answer to the people for its corrupt practices.

“That AITC leaders took money is not a cock-and-bull story. There was video footage which showed that AITC leaders were taking money. Can you show any of our leaders who took money in this way? I am challenging everybody,” he said.

On the excesses being committed by cow vigilantes across many states, Shah said: “If anybody is found flouting laws, it will be severely dealt with. Already, cases have been registered and people have been caught. Nobody should take the law into their own hands.”

Regarding a ban on cow slaughter in Bengal, Shah said: “While it (ban) was enshrined in the Constitution, if a BJP government comes to power in Bengal, it will take a call on this.”

Opponents' reactions

Bengal's parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee criticised Shah's statement, saying: “The BJP cannot come to power in 3019, forget 2019.”

CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim, however, alleged: “The BJP and the AITC silently support each other. This drama is known to us.”

First published: 26 April 2017, 19:08 IST