New Delhi, May 15, 2019-
BJP President Amit Shah said on Wednesday that what happened in Kolkata during his roadshow on Tuesday was not violence but an attack by Trinamool Congress “goons” and that he would not have escaped unhurt if there was no CRPF protection.
Addressing a press conference a day after his roadshow in Kolkata’s College Street witnessed violence and arson, Shah also hit out at the Election Commission (EC) for remaining a “mute spectator” in West Bengal while accusing Trinamool Congress “goons” of vandalising the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at the college named after the social reformer.
“It was not violence, but an attack,” Shah said while alleging that “constitutional machinery” has collapsed in West Bengal.
“I would not have escaped unhurt without CRPF protection. Many of our workers have been killed there and an attack on me was obvious. But after yesterday’s incident, it is clear that Trinamool can go to any extent,” he said.
Shah further said: “Six phases of polling have been completed in the country, but incidents of violence are happening only in West Bengal.
“(Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee is alleging that the BJP is spreading violence in the state. She is contesting only on 42 seats but the BJP is contesting across the country. No incidents of violence have been reported from anywhere except Bengal. This means Trinamool is responsible for the violence.”
He also accused Banerjee of conspiring to vandalise Vidyasagar’s statue in an effort to gain sympathy.
“The gate of the college was closed and the BJP workers were outside. Trinamool goons were pelting stones from inside. This was a conspiracy and drama by Mamata Banerjee to gain sympathy. All these prove that Trinamool Congress goons vandalised the statue. Vandalising a statue for vote bank makes it clear that the Trinamool Congress is losing badly in this electio,” the BJP President said.
Claiming that the BJP will win over 23 seats in West Bengal, Shah said that Trinamool’s days were numbered and that people were ready to vote her out of the state.
Questioning the Election Commission’s impartiality in acting on complaints of poll violence in the state, Shah alleged that the poll panel has laid “double standards” and it has been partial towards the Trinamool Congress.
“Didi (Mamata Banerjee) threatened to take revenge in a public gathering. Why didn’t the EC take notice? Why wasn’t she banned,” he asked.
The BJP chief further said that EC remained a mute spectator and did not act despite complaints of rigging in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.
“Attempts of rigging are being made in West Bengal but the Election Commission has remained a mute spectator. It should intervene,” he said.
Shah said after each of the six phases of polling in West Bengal, the BJP approached the Election Commission and sought action for the incidents of violence and rigging but not once has the poll panel ordered a repoll anywhere.
“Everywhere in the country history-sheeters are apprehended ahead of elections. But in West Bengal they are roaming free…Not a single person has been caught so far. I seriously question the Election Commission’s neutrality in Bengal,” he said.
Until the history-sheeters were caught, questions will be raised on the Election Commission’s impartiality, he added.
“EC has been partial from the very beginning of elections in the state. I don’t have any hope that it will work impartially in West Bengal,” he said.
Shah also claimed that his party would win over 300 seats on its own in the Lok Sabha polls, while the opposition parties may not even get the required number to elect the leader of Opposition.
“Till the sixth phase of polling, we have crossed the figure needed for an absolute majority and after the seventh phase, the BJP would cross the mark of 300 on its own,” he said.
Taking a swipe at the opposition parties for making efforts to forge fronts ahead of the counting on May 23, he said it would be required only after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s numbers come down.
“Any front will work if our numbers come down. We are going to win over 300 seats. If someone wants to make a federal front to elect the leader of Opposition, we have no objection. There is democracy in the country.
“It can happen that they won’t even get the required number of seats to elect the leader of Opposition. If they want to elect the leader of Opposition together, they can do that,” he said.
In 2014, the BJP got a clear majority on its own with 282 seats while the Congress was reduced to 44, less than 1/10th, which as per the existing norms does not allow it to claim the post of leader of Opposition.