West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday flayed the BJP for trying to topple the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra in an unethical and unconstitutional manner, claiming that the motive behind the act is to secure requisite votes for the upcoming presidential polls. She said the saffron party has deliberately chosen to “disturb” the Maharashtra government at a time when the presidential polls are approaching.
“The BJP government is bulldozing democracy. I feel very sad, and it is unfortunate that it is demolishing the federal structure of this country. It is attempting to topple the Maharashtra government in an unethical and unconstitutional manner,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
“In the forthcoming presidential polls, the BJP is falling short in terms of votes. Hence, they are picking and choosing which government to topple to get the votes needed to elect their nominee for the post of president,” the Trinamool Congress boss added.
In what seems to be an apparent bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government (MVA) in Maharashtra, dissident legislators of Shiv Sena, which heads the ruling coalition, left for Surat on Tuesday, where they had camped for the day, before flying to Guwahati in a chartered aircraft.
This is perhaps the first time MLAs from a western state were flown to a northeastern state, following their rebellion against the party leadership. The exact number of rebel legislators that moved to Guwahati could not be confirmed, but the flight reportedly carried 89 passengers, including the crew.
With the BJD backing NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, the vote share of the ruling dispensation has now crossed 50 per cent, virtually paving the way for her election as the first tribal president. The candidature of the 64-year-old tribal leader from Odisha was announced by BJP chief J P Nadda on Tuesday night, hours after former Union minister Yashwant Sinha was declared the joint candidate by many opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the NCP.
Banerjee also said leaders of opposition parties were being summoned by the CBI and ED, and claimed that at least 200 TMC activists have been asked to appear by the central agencies though they are not accused. “The central agencies arrest opposition leaders who speak up against the policies of the BJP-led government at the centre. Over 200 members of TMC have been served notices. But, for BJP politicians, they can go scot-free. They are distributing unlimited money. Isn’t this a form of hawala’? This scam needs to be investigated, too,” she asserted.
The chief minister asked the BJP to send the MLAs to Bengal instead, where they will be extended good hospitality.
“Why are you disturbing the Assam government when they are facing floods? Send them (the MLAs) to Bengal and we will extend good hospitality and protect democracy, too,” she said. Talking on similar lines, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee slammed the Assam government for being busy playing host to rebel MLAs, instead of taking care of the flood-affected people.
”As ASSAM DROWNS, @BJP4Assam Govt is busy following orders from Delhi to play HOST to REBEL MLAs. I wish CM @himantabiswa cared more about the flood-affected victims and less about toppling the Maharashtra Govt. PRIORITIES are clear for a REMOTE CONTROLLED SUBSERVIENT Govt. (sic),” he tweeted.
The BJP, however, rubbished the allegations as baseless and said the rebellion by the Shiv Sena MLAs is an internal matter of the party.
“The BJP has nothing to do with political turmoil in Maharashtra. It is due to internal problems of the Shiv Sena. And TMC and its leaders should not lecture us about ethics in politics. The entire country knows how ethical they have been,” West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said.