After receiving harsh criticism, Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, defended her recent ‘Jihad against BJP’ comment at India Today Conclave East 2022, calling it the state’s local language. The TMC supremo was speaking at the 2022 India Today Conclave when she went on to defend her contentious remark.
West Bengal CM @MamataOfficial talks about post-poll violence in Bengal & the #AgnipathScheme. Hear out what she said. #ConclaveEast22 #WestBengal #MamataBanerjee | @Sardesairajdeep— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) July 4, 2022
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Addressing a public gathering in Asansol earlier this week, Banerjee called upon her party cadres and supporters to launch a ‘jihad’ against the BJP from July 21, a day her party observes as ‘shahid diwas’ (martyr’s day).
When Rajdeep Sardesai, a ‘journalist’ for India Today, questioned the TMC leader about her explicit call for ‘jihad’ against the saffron party, which the BJP claimed was a clear threat to kill all of its workers and supporters in Bengal, the TMC chief gave a bizarre explanation to justify her call for violence. She said, “there are some local languages. Sometimes, Hindi and Urdu become one language. Marathi and Gujarati are similar, likewise, Bangali and Assamese languages have a lot of similarities. I understand Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi… on our side, in our local language, we said that in protest against the BJP. ‘Jihad’ in our local language means strong protest,” explained the WB CM.
Moving on, the WB CM also claimed that the heinous post-election violence that broke out in her state of West Bengal after her party regained power in May 2021 was a BJP-created drama. Throughout her conversation with India Today ‘journalist’ Rajdeep Sardesai, the WB CM admonished the BJP of conniving and lying against her and her party.
It may be recalled after Mamata Banerjee openly threatened the BJP party with ‘jihad’, the latter had complained to state Governor Jagdeep Dhankar. The Governor wrote to Banerjee Wednesday (June 29) asking her to withdraw the “unconstitutional declaration” which he also termed “authoritarian and undemocratic”.
Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the opposition, hit out at Mamata Banerjee saying her hate speech indicated her “jihadi” mindset. The BJP had also demanded Banerjee’s dismissal for her call for violence against the opposition party.
Adhikari asserted Mamata Banerjee issued the appeal for ‘jihad’ against BJP keeping in mind her Muslim vote bank. “This is part of her vote bank politics. She has encouraged Islamist and terror outfits to set up their bases in Bengal and has now given the call for jihad against the BJP,” he said.
Mamata Banerjee’s ‘Khela Hobe’ and the weaponisation of political violence
It may be recalled how the TMC supremo had coined Khela Hobe’, the genocidal election slogan during the state elections last year. Mamata Banerjee had also launched her “Khela Hobe Diwas’ on exactly the same day when Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah of the Muslim League had launched the horrific “Direct Action Day” against Hindus in 1946.
Initially, the slogan appeared as a harmless jibe against the opposition but soon started to showcase its true colours. TMC members made a wall painting in Bengal wherein Mamata Banerjee was seen hitting PM Modi’s head instead of a football. During her election rallies, the West Bengal Chief Minister continued to provoke her party workers to retaliate against the central armed forces and BJP workers. Several instances of violence were reported during the various stages of polling. Following the declaration of the 2021 assembly poll results, Bengal was in the throes of horrifying violence as TMC goons murdered, plundered and raped BJP supporters across the state.