West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee snubs TMC MLA Abdul Karim for demanding separate Islampur district

By PTI

KOLKATA: Amid claims that the TMC and the BJP have a “tacit understanding” to undermine and divide the opposition camp, the saffron party on Monday said it would not give up until TMC boss and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is defeated in West Bengal.

The saffron camp also announced that its national president J P Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah would visit the state next month and address party programmes.

The state BJP unit, during the day, held an organisational meeting here, which was addressed by the party’s national general secretary (organization) B L Santosh.

The party’s state president, Sukanta Majumdar, its national vice-president Dilip Ghosh and Leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari were among those present at the meeting.

“Santoshji clearly said that the party will not give up till Mamata Banerjee is defeated in Bengal. The BJP will not stop till the TMC gets politically defeated in the state. This message was much needed to mobilise cadres and leaders, as the assembly poll defeat and claims of tacit understanding between BJP and TMC were taking a toll on the organisation,” a senior office-bearer noted.

The grand old party and the CPI (M) have several times in the past accused the TMC of being a “trojan horse of the BJP”.

The BJP, despite its high-pitched poll campaign, won 77 seats in the last assembly polls, whereas the TMC bagged 213 out of the 294 seats to return to power for the third consecutive time.

Amid rumblings in the state BJP unit after several old guards were axed from the new office bearers’ committee, Santosh said everybody has to abide by the party discipline.

“Santosh Ji has promised that no one will be left out, and everybody will be given responsibilities. The motto should that we speak less and listen to people,” the BJP leader stated.

During the meeting, it was also decided that age of activists and leaders of BJP Yuva Morcha (youth wing) have to be within 35 years, he added.

The message from the central leadership comes just days after a few MLAs — some from the politically crucial Matua community — have openly expressed their displeasure after being dropped from the newly formed committee.

Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked everyone to be on guard against any attempt to peddle “divisive agenda” during the upcoming Gangasagar Mela.

Banerjee, at a meeting here on the preparations made for the annual religious fair, said there will be 13 medical camps at Sagar Island, where RT-PCR tests will conducted and requisite assistance provided.

A 600-bed COVID-19 hospital will also be readied for meeting any eventuality, she said.

Urging the administration and the police to maintain strict vigil at the island, she said “This is one of the best fairs in the country. Please see to it that no one makes any provocative speech to create fissures among people.”

Banerjee also impressed upon officials to take measures to check the spread of COVID-19.

“Many people will assemble. We have to take special steps to ensure COVID-19 does not spread during the fair. There will be 13 screening camps, where RT-PCR tests will be carried out. A 600-bed COVID hospital will be readied, besides five isolation centres,” she stated.

Devotees will be given masks free of cost by the government, the CM said.

More number of trains will be made available in Sealdah south and Howrah sections for ease of commutation, she maintained, adding that the fair venue will be a “plastic-free zone”.

According to officials, Banerjee will leave for Sagar Island on Tuesday to take stock of the arrangements.

Lakhs of Hindu pilgrims gather at Sagar Island on the occasion of Makar Sankranti every year to take a holy dip at the confluence of river Ganges and Bay of Bengal and offer prayers at the Kapil Muni Temple.