West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday took a dig at the Bhartiya Janata Party, saying that the land of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore would not let hate politics triumph over secularism, reported PTI.

“Those who don’t respect Mahatma Gandhi and other icons of the country are talking of building ‘Sonar Bangla’ [Golden Bengal,” she said, while addressing a rally in Bolpur in Birbhum district. “Rabindranath Tagore has already created ‘Sonar Bangla’ several decades ago, all we need to do is to protect the place from the communal onslaught of the BJP.”

The chief minister alleged that conspiracies were being hatched to destroy the culture of the state, according to The Indian Express. “Stop this politics of violence and divisive politics,” she said, indirectly referring to the saffron party.

She criticised the BJP for allegedly maligning the image of Visva Bharati University. “I don’t like it when I see a dirty politics going on around Visva Bharati,” Banerjee said. “That narrow, hateful politics has been imported all over Bengal. Attempts are being made to cultivate the politics of hatred in the name of Hinduism.”

Her comments came after the university authorities reportedly wrote to the West Bengal government, giving a list of illegal plot holders within its premises. A controversy erupted after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen also featured in it. Banerjee, however, expressed solidarity with Sen against the “bigotry of the majoritarians in this country”, and assured her support to him in the “battle that have made you an enemy of these forces of untruth”.

The chief minister also hit out at Visva Bharati University Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty. Calling him a “BJP man”, she alleged that Chakrabarty was tarnishing the image of the institution by “practising communal politics”.

TMC defections

Banerjee spoke about recent defections of Trinamool Congress MLAs to the BJP, claiming that the saffron party bought the legislators. She said that the BJP, however, cannot buy her party. “The grassroots cannot be eliminated by buying rotten MLAs with money,” she added. “Do not try to drive a nail into the rock. The nail will break.”

Various TMC MLAs, including prominent leader Suvendu Adhikari, had joined the BJP in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 19. 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 saffron party.

The TMC and the BJP have locked horns ahead of the state Assembly election in 2021. While the BJP has claimed that the law and order situation in the state has deteriorated, citing the attack on BJP President JP Nadda’s convoy in Kolkata on December 10, the TMC has accused the saffron party of indulging in communal politics and spreading false information.