The BJP staged a silent protest at the Jantar Mantar here on Wednesday to condemn the violence in Kolkata after the alleged attack on the party president Amit Shah’s convoy.
Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Jitendra Singh, Vijay Goel and Harsh Vardhan wore black bands and put fingers on their lips while sitting on the podium. Some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers were also carrying placards which read: “save Bengal, save democracy”.
The leaders hit out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly “throttling democracy” in the West Bengal.
“Yesterday, our national president’s (Shah’s) rally was hit by violence, but if it wasn’t for the CRPF, our party president would not have come back safe,” Sitharaman told reporters. “I think the forthcoming defeat has left the CM of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, completely rattled and she has been provoking her cadre to indulge in violence.” The defence minister wondered how noted reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue, which was inside the college campus in a locked room, was vandalised. She alleged that the Trinamool Congress workers, who she said were present inside the campus, were behind the attack.
Sitharaman accused Banerjee of trying to shift the blame to the BJP workers, saying “total lies” were being spread. The minister alleged that democracy was under “threat” in the state and blamed the chief minister for it. She also referred to the arrest of BJP youth wing activist Priyanka Sharma for sharing a meme.
Singh, meanwhile, claimed that the violence was a conspiracy to put hurdles in the BJP’s “peaceful” campaign in the state.
“What kind of a democracy will we allow to flourish in our country? One riddled with violence or oppression or one without oppression and violence?” Singh asked. “A democracy cannot flourish if it is not free of violence. Our party president has called on people to exercise their right through ballot boxes and ensure a peaceful democracy flourishes in the state.” Vardhan urged the Supreme Court, the Election Commission and the President to dismiss Banerjee’s government.
“They (TMC) are using their administration to indulge in hooliganism. Sometimes, she (Banerjee) doesn’t allow the helicopter to hand, sometimes they remove posters and BJP workers are being murdered. No proof is needed for it,” Vardhan said.
“West Bengal was known as the land of scientists and intellectuals, but its name has been ruined in the world now,” he added.
Goel, who organised the protest, said Banerjee wanted to “throttle democracy” and was “scared of the popularity” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The BJP will fight against this. She is backed by those elements who were backing the communists earlier. The more she does this, the more support BJP will get from the people. We will fight this oppression,” he added.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
May 15, 2019 15:15 IST