A statement by Abhishek Banerjee, Lok Sabha MP from All India Trinamool Congress, provided ammunition to the Bharatiya Janata Party to criticise him and compare the Trinamool leadership to “dictatorship”, having a “fascist” mindset.
Banerjee, who is also West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, triggered a controversy with his comments following his visit to an injured police officer, who was assaulted by unknown assailants during the BJP’s rally on Tuesday.
The Trinamool MP said that had he been in place of the police officer, he would have shot in the head the culprits who attacked the police vehicle and other police personnel.
BJP’s national spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam, MP Saumitra Khan and national executive committee member Anirban Ganguly, held a joint press conference on Thursday at the party headquarters in New Delhi to condemn Banerjee’s statement. They also took exception to the way BJP leaders and workers were treated by police personnel in West Bengal during the anti-corruption protest march.
Islam alleged that the law and order in West Bengal had collapsed, calling the situation in the state under chief minister Banerjee’s rule was more like a “dictatorship”.
“The way Abhishek … said that he would have shot the bullet in the head, who is he referring to? He is talking about BJP’s those workers who had wanted to project the party’s stand against corruption, in a peaceful way,” Islam said. “Mamata Banerjee wants to suppress (voices) with political violence… The way they (leaders) have used language and force, they need to understand that this country runs in accordance with the Constitution, and not with dictatorship,” he added.
Ganguly, on the other hand, claimed that the “unprovoked” lathi-charge was started by police. “The West Bengal chief minister, and her nephew, have mentioned ‘shooting the bullet’, at least 30 times, cumulatively, he said, reiterating what (Abhishek) Banerjee had said. This is ‘their fascist mindset’, and they are ‘intolerant to the power infinite’,” Ganguly said, charging that the Trinamool MP was turning into an “extra-constitutional” authority in the state.
Defending Abhishek Banerjee’s statement, Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh, while addressing a press conference in Kolkata, said that the MP had merely praised the patience shown by police personnel.