NEW DELHI — Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly had a heated exchange on phone while discussing reports of violence against people who participated in BJP President Amit Shah’s rally of in the state.
During the telephonic conversation with Banerjee, Singh asked her to take action against those who indulged in the violence, officials said.
According to an NDTV report, Banerjee told the home minister, “Please control your leaders and supporters.”
The home minister had called up the chief minister to express serious concern over the reports of large-scale violence and arson against people who participated in the rally in East Midnapore district, a home ministry official said.
Vehicles ferrying BJP workers were set on fire in clashes that broke out following Shah’s rally, party sources said.
The BJP alleged that buses in which party workers were returning from Shah’s rally were ransacked and set on fire allegedly by TMC activists.
The Trinamool Congress on the other hand claimed that BJP workers had attacked a local TMC party office in Kanthi and vandalised it.
Amit Shah’s rally
At his rally in East Midnapore’s Kanthi, Amit Shah claimed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s paintings were bought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees, drawing a sharp response from the ruling Trinamool Congress, which issued a defamation notice against him.
Vowing to uproot the Trinamool government in state, he said if the BJP comes to power, it will ensure that each and every defrauded investor in the chit fund scam get their money back.
Making pointed attacks against Banerjee, Shah said, “Are you all aware of Mamata Banerjee’s qualities? She is a very good painter. Even if someone is a great painter, how much would his/her paintings cost? (Rs) 10,000, (Rs) 20,000, (Rs) 1 lakh or (Rs) 10 lakh. But her paintings were brought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees.”
“So, will the chit fund owners ever be arrested if the person, whose paintings they had brought, is the chief minister?” he asked, claiming that over 25 lakh people of the state had lost their life’s savings in the scam.
The TMC was quick to react. The party dismissed Shah’s charges as “baseless” and alleged that the “BJP is trying to malign our party”.
Chandrima Bhattacharya, senior TMC leader and minister of state for health, also issued a defamation notice against the BJP chief and accused him of trying to malign Banerjee by “uttering lies”.
“I want to ask him on what basis he made those comments against our party leader. He has to either give evidence in support of his statements or apologise publicly for his comments. If he doesn’t do it we will take legal steps against him,” Bhattacharya said.
(With PTI Inputs)