A meeting between two BJP lawmakers and a CPI(M) leader in North Bengal has raised eyebrows in the TMC camp, with the ruling party claiming it was part of a “larger design to protect the region and the to destabilize state government”. However, both the saffron party leadership and Ashok Bhattacharya of CPI(M) refuted the claims and speculation, saying it was just a “courteous visit”.
BJP’s Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, along with Siliguri MLA Shankar Ghosh, had visited Bhattacharya, former mayor of Siliguri, at his residence on Monday and shared photos of the meeting on social media shortly after.
“Today I summoned Sri Ashok Bhattacharya, Former State Minister, Former Mayor of SMC and MLA Siliguri in his hometown to exchange Diwali greetings. I was joined by @DrShankarGhosh MLA Siliguri and other Dist and Mandal Karyakartas,” Bista had tweeted.
The TMC, in its mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’, was quick to conclude that the meeting was set up for a scheme to “destabilize the state government by December”. TMC Secretary of State Kunal Ghosh later said: “This is not just a courtesy meeting, but part of a larger plan to destabilize North Bengal. Since its defeat in the last election polls, the BJP had tried to divide the state by either demand to instigate a union territory or a separate state. We condemn this cheap policy.”
Several high-ranking BJP MPs and MLAs had openly called for the split of Bengal in the past, either through the creation of a new state or by carving out a union territory through North Bengal.
Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari had said on occasions that the TMC-led government would not complete its full term in office and that its days were numbered in the state. Bhattacharya, for his part, called TMC’s allegations unfounded.
“There is nothing political about this visit. It was just a courtesy call from the BJP MP. He came because he would not be able to attend a ceremony in honor of my late wife later this month. As it was on the occasion of Diwali, he brought some dried fruit,” the CPI(M) leader claimed. Echoing him, BJP MP Bista said in a statement that common courtesy and decency, under the TMC, have become “rare phenomena” in the state.
“The TMC’s desperation to label our meeting as a scheme for a new settlement, in its mouthpiece, shows the sense of fear and uncertainty it feels. TMC members seem to have forgotten that seeking blessings from the elderly during festivals is an intrinsic part of our culture,” he said.
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