Sparking a fresh controversy, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said those living in the state will have to learn to speak Bengali.
Playing the Bengali card for the first time, Banerjee told TMC workers, “I will not tolerate criminals who stay in Bengal and roam around on bikes. Police will take action against them. If non-Bengalis continue to target Bengali-speaking people, then will people of Bengal keep quiet? We don’t want to drive out people from here like Biharis were driven out from Maharashtra and Gujarat. But how long will they tolerate if you live in Bengal and scare Bengalis, I will not tolerate this.”
“We have to bring Bengal forward. When I go to Bihar, UP, Punjab, I speak in their language. If someone is living in Bengal, he or she has to learn Bengali,” she said.
Alleging that BJP is doing caste-based politics and propagating religious polarisation, Banerjee claimed that the party gave money to the criminals to instigate violence.
“BJP is giving money to the criminals daily for instigating violence and disturbing the peace here. The CPM was also no different. They attacked our workers when they were in power,” she said.
Terming ballot papers as the only solution, she claimed that EVMs were pre-programmed and questioned pre-result statements of BJP leaders’ claiming over 300 seats.
“How did they easily say that they will win so many seats? The EVMs were pre-programmed. Machines were tampered. Even the EVMs which were replaced for the faulty ones were pre-programmed. A ballot is the only solution for a democracy. This will be our movement,” Banerjee said.
Her party faced a tough fight from BJP in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, where BJP made inroads in the state.
BJP managed to win 18 seats limiting TMC to 22 seats out of 42 seats in the state.
Mamata government in West Bengal is currently engulfed in protests and strikes after a junior doctor was allegedly assaulted last week by the kin of a 75-year-old patient.
This was followed by a strike by local junior doctors that entered the fifth day on Saturday and on Friday, Indian Medical Association has called for a nationwide protest and Delhi Medical Association called for a Bandh.
The political temperature was at a peak in the past weeks after Mamata was confronted by ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans several times in Kolkata.
She lost her temper last month when a group of BJP followers chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Modi” while she was on her way to a sit-in venue. Her motorcade was passing through North Parganas district.
This led to BJP announcing to send 10 lakh postcards with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ written on them to Mamata.