Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien on Sunday hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah over his speeches made in West Bengal and conducted a “fact-check” on one of his such addresses.
“Fact Check of the speech made in Bengal by the henchman of the ‘tourist gang’,” O’Brien tweeted. “7 pieces of concocted, false info in one speech. Actually, by his standards, quite low!”
“Tourist gang” is a term used by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to describe outsiders in the state.
O’Brien led with Shah’s claim that Banerjee had left the Congress for another party but was accusing people of defection. In his rebuttal the TMC MP pointed out that Banerjee “did not defect”, she set up a new party, the Trinamool Congress, in 1998.
On Saturday, Shah had said that Banerjee’s “misrule, corruption and nepotism” was the reason for so many people leaving her party, according to NDTV. Suvendu Adhikari, who was among the most prominent TMC leaders, had joined the BJP in the presence of Shah. Besides Adhikari, six MLAs of the TMC, one each from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India and the Congress had also joined the BJP.
On another claim the state government was giving the benefits of Ayushman Bharat to the people, O’Brien said that the TMC-led dispensation had set up Swasthya Sathi two years before the Centre’s health scheme.
The TMC MP also spoke about Shah’s claim that BJP National President JP Nadda was not provided adequate security on his visit to Bengal. Offering his counter, O’Brien said: “Bengal government had provided Z+ security to Nadda but he violated all regulations by a large convoy of vehicles to follow him.”
O’Brien countered BJP’s accusations that 300 party workers were killed in the state in 1.5 years. “Many BJP workers were killed because of infighting,” he said. “Even death by suicide were being passed off as political killings.” He added that 1,027 TMC workers were killed because of political rivalry since 1997 and that 116 BJP Lok Sabha MPs had criminal records.
The TMC MP also dismissed Shah’s claims that TMC workers had appropriated food grains sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the people of the state. He said that about 10 crore people were being given free rations under a state government scheme.
TMC leaders criticse Amit Shah
TMC and its leaders have criticised Shah during his two-day to the state. In a tweet on Sunday, the party mocked his visit to a village in Bengal, where the home minister can be seen having lunch.
The party posed the photo along with BJP’s 2014 tweet: “Congress leaders specialise in poverty tourism. With cameras, they go to villages, sit with the poor, eat their food & get pictures clicked.”
In another tweet on December 18, the party criticised the home minitser over a poster of the BJP where Shah is placed on top, a local BJP leader at the bottom, and a sketch of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in between. “How dare you insult Gurudeb Rabindranath Tagore AGAIN?” the party asked in the tweet using the hashtag #BJPInsultsTagore. “Extremely shameful to see that you have placed yourself above Gurudeb! People of Bengal will NEVER forgive this!”
State Minister Partha Chatterjee also hit out at Shah tweeting the same poster. “Mr Amit Shah, your pompous nature and disconnect with the culture of Bengal has surfaced once again!” he said. “You are so caught up in election fever that respecting our leaders has clearly taken a backseat. This is exactly why you will remain ‘outsiders’ to us!”
The minister also mocked Shah over the party’s promise of employment to everyone. “Amit Shah ji where are the 2 Crore jobs promised by your party?!” he asked on Twitter. “Bengal will not be fooled by your recurring jumlas and political gimmicks!”