Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Tuesday accused the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government of indulging in appeasement politics, claiming that cow smuggling and forced religious conversions were rampant in the state, PTI reported. Adityanath was addressing a public rally in Gazole town of Malda district in the poll-bound state.

He also criticised the Trinamool Congress government for opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act.

“Why is there state-sponsored violence in West Bengal when Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced a law to provide protection to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians in neighbouring countries?” he asked. “The [state] government has a problem with refugees getting citizenship but has no issue with illegal immigrants coming to the state.”

Claiming that incidents of “love jihad” were on a rise in West Bengal, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister said that a government which could not provide security to “mothers and sisters”, does not have any right to rule. He also mentioned his government’s decision to introduce a law to prevent “love jihad” –a pejorative term coined by the right-wing groups to push the conspiracy theory that Muslim men charm Hindu women into marrying them with the sole purpose of converting them to Islam.

Adityanath’s accusation on crime against women is in spite of the fact that Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of such incidents in 2019, according to an annual National Crime Record Bureau report. The state also recorded the highest increase in crimes against women, at 66.7%, in four years to 2019.

On the matter of cow smuggling, Adityanath said that the Bharatiya Janata Party will stop such incidents “within 24 hours” by introducing a new law, if voted to power, PTI reported. “We will shut down all illegal slaughterhouses in Bengal within 24 hours of coming to power,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.

The BJP leader also raked up the matter of chanting “Jai Shri Ram” slogans, saying that taking the Hindu deity’s name was a part of daily life for Indians.

“We say ‘Ram Ram’ when we meet each other, we take Ram’s name when there is an event at our homes and we chant his name even during funerals,” Adityanath said. “...Those who are ‘Ramdrohis’ (anti-Ram), have no place in India and Bengal.”

The slogan has assumed greater political significance since West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to speak at an event in January, to celebrate Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary, after “Jai Shri Ram” slogans were raised at the venue.

The elections to the 294 seats in West Bengal will be held in record eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be declared on May 2. The state will see a three-cornered fight between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP and an alliance between Left parties, the Congress and the Indian Secular Front.