Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 20
The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government in West Bengal boycotted Centre’s virtual function organised on Thursday to mark the “World Toilet Day”.
The development presages a deepening of the ongoing internecine rivalry between the TMC and the BJP ahead of the crucial Assembly election in the state which is due in April-May next year.
While the TMC is trying hard to protect its turf in Bengal, the BJP has emerged as a serious challenger to its dominance in the state’s politics.
The Assembly polls are due sometime in April-May next year, and all the major political players have begun their moves.
The state government’s boycott of the function was conspicuous during a ceremony to felicitate districts for their appreciable works with regard cleanliness, including the construction of toilets under the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission-Rural programme.
Cooch Behar district of Bengal was among the country’s 20 districts shortlisted by the Centre for the felicitation by Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The authorities from Bengal, however, did not turn up at the function to acknowledge the honour.
This was in marked contrast to authorities of districts other states concerned attending the function and receiving the felicitation.
When the name of Cooch Behar was called during the felicitation ceremony, Shekhawat was publicly informed by Ministry’s officials that the authorities of then state government had not turned up even though they were informed.
“Ok, congratulations to also those who have not turned up,” Shekhawat reacted to the development.
Coincidentally, Cooch Behar is in the throes of political violence following recent killing of a local BJP leader by TMC activists. In protest, the BJP had called for a “bandh” in the area yesterday, which led to more violence.
A few days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had obliquely cautioned the TMC leadership regarding killings of workers of rival parties while addressing workers at BJP headquarters following victory of the NDA in Bihar Assembly election.
“By the killings, they cannot win election. They should read the writing on the wall,” Modi said with regard coming Assembly election in Bengal.
Subsequently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his political visit to the state, had decried killings of more than 100 BJP workers over a period of time.
The BJP had sprung a surprise by winning 18 of the total of 42 parliamentary seats in Bengal in the 2019 General Election, besides running the dominant TMC close at another two seats.
To boot, it decimated and relegated the Left parties and the Congress, thereby, heralding itself as the principal Opposition to the TMC in the state’s political landscape.
Also, Shah has created a flutter by his announcement that the BJP would win the Assembly election in the state by securing two-thirds majority of seats on its own.