On Sunday (April 4), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stirred a new controversy by promoting regionalism and sectarianism ahead of the third phase of polling in the State.
In a blatant display of hatred against Gujaratis, she alleged, “Gujaratis are trying to capture Bengal by bringing goons from UP and Bihar.” Mamata Banerjee also vowed to not let her State turn into Gujarat. The West Bengal CM emphasised, “We will not allow Bengal to become like Gujarat.” She made the remarks during an election rally in the Howrah district.
Gujaratis are trying to capture Bengal by bringing goons from UP and Bihar. We will not allow Bengal to become like Gujarat. BJP tries to create communal disturbance: West Bengal CM & TMC chief Mamata Banerjee in Howrah pic.twitter.com/nd8TfiYaS3— ANI (@ANI) April 4, 2021
Rahul Gandhi peddled hatred against Gujaratis
Ahead of the State Legislative elections in Assam, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi also targeted the Gujarati community in the hope to turn around his party’s political fortunes. On February 14 this year, he announced that he would take money from Gujarat tea traders and hand it over to the tea garden workers in Assam.
Letting his hate for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, both Gujaratis, spill on to the people of Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi claimed that Assam tea workers get paid Rs 167 per day wage while ‘traders in Gujarat’ get tea gardens. He did not give any proof to back his claims. He ‘promised’ that should Congress come to power in Assam, the workers will get Rs 365 per day wage. “Where will the money come from? It will come from Gujarat’s traders”, he claimed.
Textile Minister Smriti Irani dared Rahul Gandhi to take money from the small tea traders in Gujarat. Smriti Irani further emphasised, “I want to challenge Rahul Gandhi to try Gujarat if he has guts. I also challenge him to contest polls from Gujarat. That will clear all his misconceptions.” She called out Rahul Gandhi’s hatred for Gujaratis as he and his party had earlier opposed the construction of the Statue of Unity.
How did Bengal lose to Gujarat in 2008?
While Mamata Banerjee has vowed to not let West Bengal turn into Gujarat, the former had lost to the latter in the infamous Tata Nano Singur controversy in 2008. Following widespread protest, the Tata Nano plant was moved out of Singur to Gujarat’s Sanand.
In 2006-07, there was massive protest against land acquisition for the Tata Manufacturing plant, which escalated into violence and bloodshed when police forces under the Left Front government opened fire at the protesters. Mamata Banerjee, as the primary opposition then, led the charge against the same.
Years later, however, locals who took part in the protests, expressed regret regarding the same. One of them said, “We got nothing out of the agitation. We were used and later dumped to fend for ourselves by the political parties to serve their own purposes. No industries came up in the region, nor the land which was returned to us in 2016 is cultivable. We are living in extreme poverty.”
The widespread sentiment is that if they were given a chance to ‘atone’ for their mistake, they definitely would.