Bharatiya Janata Party’s National President Jagat Prakash Nadda on Monday asked people to remove the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal from power “lock, stock and barrel”, PTI reported. Assembly elections are to be held in West Bengal early next year, and the BJP is attempting to take over the reins of power for the first time.

“Criminalisation of politics has scaled new heights, now we all hear about cut money in Bengal,” Nadda said at a virtual rally in West Bengal on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee. The Jan Sangh was the precursor of the BJP. “We need to cut to size these leaders who demand cut money. We need to restore Bengal’s glory and remove this government lock, stock and barrel.”

Nadda claimed that Mookerjee fought for a united India and opposed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s “appeasement politics”. Nadda said it is an honour to celebrate his birth anniversary at a time when the Narendra Modi-led government has scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution – a dream of the Jan Sangh founder.

The BJP chief claimed that it is because of Mookerjee that West Bengal and large parts of Punjab are in India. “It is due to Syama Prasad Mookerjee that Bengal and Punjab are with India,” Nadda told the audience. “Otherwise they would have gone to Pakistan during Partition...he opposed the appeasement politics of Nehru in post-Independent India...but the Congress has a bad habit of stifling democratic voices.”

Nadda also alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is not ready to share data with the Centre on the coronavirus situation in her state. “The West Bengal chief minister doesn’t believe in cooperative federalism,” he alleged.

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In June, Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused Banerjee of using the term “corona express” to describe special trains carrying migrant workers back to West Bengal. Banerjee had refuted the allegation, claiming that it was the people of West Bengal who had coined the term. She also accused the BJP of putting the lives of migrant workers at risk by not sending them home before a countrywide lockdown was imposed.

The West Bengal chief minister had alleged in May that the Railway ministry was “evacuating Maharashtra and spreading corona to Bengal”, referring to the large number of trains in transit between the two states.

West Bengal has so far reported 22,126 cases of the coronavirus, including 757 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.