The Election Commission’s announcement of the bypolls to the Bhabanipur assembly seat a few weeks from now has sent political temperatures soaring again. The ruling TMC and the opposition BJP have again trained guns at each other in West Bengal after the saffron party alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct by the ruling party. The Election Commission announced the poll date on the September 4 and with the announcement, the model code of conduct kicked in.
The saffron party yesterday wrote to the Election Commission seeking action against Mamata Banerjee, the TMC’s candidate from Bhabanipur. A BJP delegation also met EC and urged the poll panel to restrain Banerjee from participating in ensuing by-polls for violating the Model Code of Conduct by announcing cash rewards for Durga Puja clubs.
“….we draw your attention to the program organised by the West Bengal Government in the Netaji Indoor Stadium addressed by the unelected Chief Minister Smt. Mamata Banerjee and Chief Secretary. In this program, the Durga Puja organising clubs were invited wherein cash donation and other facilities by the state government were announced for 36,000 clubs in the State including 2,500 clubs in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation area,” reads BJP’s letter to EC.
However, the TMC was quick to give an ‘anti-Hindu’ twist to the BJP’s allegation. The TMC again brought to the fore an old video of Dilip Ghosh in which he had allegedly said that ‘Durga pata nahi kahan se aa jate hai’ (Don’t know from where Durga came). Ghosh had allegedly made the remarks while talking about Ram. Now the TMC has linked the video to the EC letter saying that it shows BJP’s anti-Hindu and anti-Bengali stance.
“Good to see BJP finally come clean about their anti-Hindu and anti-Bengali stance! Preventing government support to Puja committees finally reveals the true mindset of BJP leaders. All of India is watching as #BJPInsultsMaaDurga yet again!” said Bratya Basu, Minister-in-Charge, Higher Education and School Education Department in the West Bengal government.
Good to see @BJP4Bengal finally come clean about their anti-Hindu and anti-Bengali stance! Preventing government support to Puja committees finally reveals the true mindset of BJP leaders.
All of India is watching as #BJPInsultsMaaDurga yet again!
— Bratya Basu (@basu_bratya) September 8, 2021
Minister in-charge of the Department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal, Dr Shashi Panja said, “We haven’t forgotten how BJP State President Dilip Ghosh insulted Maa Durga. Now his party has issues with people celebrating Durga Puja! With this move, their disconnect with the sentiments of this land is clearer than ever!”
We haven't forgotten how @BJP4Bengal State President @DilipGhoshBJP insulted Maa Durga.
Now his party has issues with people celebrating Durga Puja! With this move, their disconnect with the sentiments of this land is clearer than ever!#BJPInsultsMaaDurga pic.twitter.com/mG3mYafyUh
— Dr. Shashi Panja (@DrShashiPanja) September 8, 2021
Bengal minister Aroop Biswas said, “First they insulted Maa Durga and now they have gone on to insult the entire festival that is so close to our heart. Such hypocrisy of BJP WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN! No wonder people blessed Mamata Banerjee with such a huge mandate.”
First they insulted Maa Durga and now they have gone on to insult the entire festival that is so close to our heart!
Such hypocrisy of @BJP4Bengal WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN! No wonder people blessed @MamataOfficial with such a huge mandate.#BJPInsultsMaaDurga pic.twitter.com/xCy6SzHKp8
— Aroop Biswas (@aroopbiswasaitc) September 8, 2021
TMC Student Wing State president Trinankur Bhattacharjee also alleged that the sole objective of the BJP is to disrupt the event. “The sole objective of BJP is to disrupt events and harass the citizens by all any means! It’s Blasphemous to see advocators of Hinduism, pushing GoWB not to assist Durga Puja Committees in their preparations for the biggest cultural festival of Bengal,” he said.
The sole objective of @BJP4Bengal is to disrupt events & harass the citizens by all any means!
It's Blasphemous to see advocators of Hinduism,pushing GoWB not to assist Durga Puja Committees in their preparations for the biggest cultural festival of Bengal.#BJPInsultsMaaDurga pic.twitter.com/d6uMwcRehx
— Trinankur Bhattacharjee (@TrinankurWBTMCP) September 8, 2021
Former TMC minister Madan Mitra questioned the BJP’s opposition to the move. “Why does the BJP have a problem with the government supporting people in celebrating Durga Puja? How is this related to elections in any way? The same support is being extended this year as well and yet BJP is riled up!” he said.
The TMC hit out at the BJP saying that ‘the self-proclaimed custodians of Hindu culture & values’ don’t understand Hinduism. It said the BJP’s move has exposed ‘their scant regard for Maa Durga and the traditions of Bengal’.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh today said that it was the TMC that blocked the immersion of Goddess Durga’s idol and now has violated the model code of conduct as Mamata herself is a candidate. Ghosh said that his party has lodged a complaint against the violation of the MCC.