Kolkata witnessed an unprecedented show of strength by the Bharatiya Janata Party on the death anniversary of the legendary freedom fighter from Bengal, Khudiram Bose, on Saturday the 11th. Hundreds and thousands of people clad in saffron gathered at Mayo Road to hear the President of the BJP, Amit Shah, speak at the Yuva Swabhiman Samavesh Rally.
After paying due respect to the heroes of Bengal and Khudiram Bose in particular, Amit Shah launched a frontal attack on the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee had declared support for the illegal immigrants in Assam and suggested that any move to expel them may lead to civil war. Amit Shah responded to Mamata today by asking the crowd of supporters, “Shouldn’t Bangladeshi illegal immigrants be thrown out?” Mamata Banerjee has been coming across as increasingly agitated of late and the BJP appears to have sensed weakness in one of its most virulent opponents.
Amit Shah was scathing in his attacks as he urged the crowd that had gathered on several occasions to uproot the Trinamool Congress from power in the coming elections. He accused Mamata of caring more for her vote bank than for national interests. Amit Shah also suggested that the signals of local Bengali channels were being tampered with to prevent people from watching the BJP rally.
BJP President Amit Shah also targeted the Mamata-Rahul Gandhi alliance that appears to be taking shape. On the NRC issue, he suggested that Mamata should explain why she is protecting illegal immigrants and questioned Rahul Gandhi for not clarifying his stand on the issue.
Amit Shah also mentioned the ban on immersion of murthis of Maa Durga by the West Bengal government on Vijaya Dashami as the dates clashed with Muharram. He then assured if the BJP comes to power, people will have complete freedom to practice their religious faith. Amit Shah attacked the Chief Minister on a variety of other issues, from the deteriorating law and order situation to corruption, and highlighted the achievements of the Narendra Modi government at the Center.
From Amit Shah’s speech, it is clear that the BJP’s main agenda for West Bengal will be the illegal infiltration into the state by Bangladeshis and Mamata Banerjee’s soft approach towards and the infringement of the religious rights of Hindus and the persecution they suffer in certain areas of the state. At a time when Mamata Banerjee was being furthered as one of the Prime Ministerial candidates for a Mahagathbandhan of opposition parties to defeat the BJP in 2019, the saffron party has responded by laying siege to her own state.
The most significant statement by the President of the BJP that is sure to make Trinamool Congress very nervous was when he invoked Shyama Prasad Mookherjee and Rabindranath Tagore to raise the clarion call for the battle for 2019. He said, “BJP is ruling in 19 states. But I believe that victory in these states is meaningless until we win over the place of Syama Prasad Mukherjee and Rabindranath Tagore. Let us give a chance to Narendra Modi.”
It appears very possible that not only will Mamata Banerjee not be the Prime Ministerial candidate come 2019, but also she will be facing a very real possibility of BJP winning substantial Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal.