Kolkata/New Delhi: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused some Union ministers of trying to instigate riots in the state after the BJP’s defeat in the Assembly election on the pretext of visiting saffron party workers injured in the post-poll violence.
The Trinamul Congress supremo also asked the BJP not to create unrest and accept the fact that it had lost the election. Speaking at Nabanna, the state secretariat, she said: “Not even 24 hours have passed since I took again, and letters have started pouring in as Union ministers resumed visits. Political rallies have been banned due to the Covid-19 pandemic here, so I don’t know why some Central ministers are unnecessarily visiting villages and trying to provoke riots.”
The CM added: “I request them not to worsen the situation through their provocation. I ask the BJP to show restraint, accept the mandate. This is happening as they haven’t been able to accept the people’s verdict.”
Meanwhile, in a move that is bound to further escalate tensions between the Centre and the West Bengal government, the Union home ministry on Thursday sent a four-member team to review the law and order situation in the state, led by an additional secretary-level officer. This was done after the MHA sent two letters to the state government seeking a detailed report on the post-poll violence in West Bengal.
In Kolkata, the chief minister’s remarks came hours after a violent attack allegedly by TMC workers on the convoy of minister of state for external affairs V. Muraleedharan in West Midnapore. The minister, however, escaped unhurt but a car in his motorcade, that included pilot cars from the state police, was vandalised by an armed mob at Panchkuri. The MoS was going to visit the family of a slain BJP worker and other injured.
He later tweeted: “TMC goons attacked my convoy in West Midnapore, broken windows, attacked personal staff. Cutting short my trip. We could not visit the house of @BJP4Bengal Karyakarta, Biswajit Mahesh, who was killed in the post-poll violence at his village Markundachak. Police advised us not to go after the attack on my convoy at Paanchkuri.”
Mr Muraleedharan added: “@BJP4India will not be threatened by Un-Democratic forces. Our fight against perpetrators of violence will continue in Democratic means. Arrived at Debra to meet workers of @BJP4Bengal who have been brutally attacked, whose houses have been destroyed by TMC goons.”
At Nabanna, Ms Banerjee said, referring to the troubled zones: “We have marked some areas as black spots where unrest is spreading after the BJP has won by transferring police officials, including superintendents of police, due to their organisational inefficiency.”
She also announced her government’s compensation of Rs 2 lakhs for the family of each person killed in the post-poll clashes.
At Dinhata in Cooch Behar of North Bengal, former TMC MLA Udayan Guha, who lost to Nishith Pramanik of the BJP this time, was injured in the right hand while two of his security personnel suffered head injuries after saffron party workers beat them in an attack.
Ms Banerjee also offered jobs of home guards to one family member each of all five villagers killed in the paramilitary forces’ firing at Sitalkuchi in the district during the elections.
Earlier, in New Delhi, while seeking a detailed report on the violence that erupted after counting on May 2, the MHA asked the state government to take steps to stop the violence without any delay. A second letter was sent by the MHA on May 5, the day Ms Banerjee took the oath as CM. In his second letter on May 5, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said: “I remind you no report has been submitted despite my asking for details on the post-poll violence on May 3. Non-compliance of this second letter will be taken seriously.”
On May 5, after taking the oath, Ms Banerjee had pointed out that the law and order machinery in the state was under the control of the Election Commission and hence she could not be held responsible for it. She had claimed all police officers in key positions were also appointed by the Election Commission. The MHA had asked the chief secretary why adequate measures to stop the violence had not been taken so far. “There are fresh reports which suggest that post-poll violence has not stopped. Immediate measures should be taken to stop the violence and a report should be sent immediately,” the home secretary said in his letter.