Kolkata: Below a large cut-out of BJP President Amit Shah in Kolkata’s northern suburb Baranagar lies a board reading “courtesy Baranagar Trinamool Congress”. At first glance, the scenario may seem a welcome exception in a state where clashes between the BJP-ruled Centre and the Trinamool Congress-run state government are reaching a flashpoint ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
However, that is not to be. In fact, the cut-out has generated much heat between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool.
According to the Trinamool’s local leadership, large cut-outs of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were put up on B.T. Road ahead of the January 19 Brigade Parade ground rally of anti-BJP opposition leaders.
The boards reading “courtesy, Baranagar Trinamool Congress” were placed below those cut-outs.
“The BJP put up Shah’s cut-out at Baranagar by removing that of Banerjee. But, in a comical slip, they forgot to remove the board which remained as it is,” said a Trinamool leader.
Another local Trinamool leader Aparna Moulik “condemned the BJP’s attitude”.
“I condemn them for their brand of politics. They have put up flags and cut-outs, but the board below the cut-out proves they removed our leader’s picture. Nothing can be more despicable than this,” said Moulik.
On the other hand, the BJP vehemently denied the allegation.
“In the prevailing political situation in West Bengal, is it possible for any opposition party to remove Banerjee’s cut-out?” asked BJP’s Kolkata North Suburban district President Manas Bhattacharya.
“This is a blatant lie. BJP is a party with a different ideology. We respect Banerjee’s chair,” Bhattachaya told IANS.
“There is no proof that the Chief Minister’s cut-out had been put up there. As for the board below that talks of “courtesy”, can one say for certain when it was placed there? The Trinamool has so many factions. We don’t know which of their faction has kept it there, and when,” said Bhattacharya.
With the saffron party making West Bengal – where they have been traditionally weak – a focus state, the political temperatures have been soaring.
The BJP had emerged as the main challenger to the Trinamool in recent polls and is now making a determined bid to increase its tally of seats from the state that sends 42 representatives to the lower House of Parliament.
The BJP secured only two Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in the 2014 elections.
During his visit to the state last month, Shah appealed to the people to give more than 23 seats from the state to the BJP.