Kolkata: On a day the BJP accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of trying to gag the opposition with "brute force", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday made a counter-attack warning opposition parties against engaging in smear campaigns and dared them to fight on development plank.
Apparently irked by a BJP central team's attempt to visit trouble-torn Makra village, the ruling Trinamool Congress today hit out at it with party MP and Mamata's nephew Abhishek Banerjee saying it was the saffron party which was responsible for the October 27 violence that left three people dead.
"We cannot be stopped by smear campaigns. My job is to take everybody along. Those who will oppose, will be thrown away," the chief minister said at a programme at Ganga Sargar, the pilgrim spot in South 24-Parganas district.
"'Sarva Dharma Samanyaya' is our motto. We work for people irrespective of religion and caste... Smear campaign and malicious propaganda will not work. People will give a befitting reply," Banerjee said.
Meanwhile in Kolkata, Banerjee's nephew Abhishek said that the three persons who died in the clash between the two parties at Makra village in Birbhum district belonged to TMC. Abhishek claimed, "There are photos of BJP activists carrying on the attacks with party flags."
Abhishek said any attempt to disturb peace will not be tolerated by the TMC government in West Bengal where "democracy has been restored after 34 years of Left Front rule".
"When Singur (agitation against Tata Motors' aborted Nano car project) happened in 2006 why did no central BJP delegation visit there?" he asked, speaking to PTI.
"Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said in Kolkata three days ago that peace will prevail in the state and the state government would not allow to disturb it," he added.
Lashing out at BJP, TMC General Secretary Mukul Roy accused it of trying to create unrest in West Bengal on the basis of religion, divide its people and 'tarnish' the state's image.
"No one is above law even if one is a member of Parliament," he said, justifying the arrest of BJP leaders, including its Vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and MPs Kirti Azad and Udit Raj.
Police said the BJP leaders were arrested as they tried to enter the village violating prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 clamped after the clash in which three persons were killed and at least five houses set on fire.
Roy said, "BJP is trying to create unrest in the state on the basis of religion and to stall the development works being carried out by the Mamata Banerjee government for the common people."
"There is no place for communalism in West Bengal and the people of the state will resist BJP's attempts in this regard. Not only in Makra, BJP is trying to create unrest in entire West Bengal," Roy said.
A livid Naqvi earlier told newsmen after arrest, "It is a murder of democracy. The TMC government is trying to hide what happened in Makra. It is a shame."
"The TMC government is gagging the opposition voice using brute force," the BJP leader alleged.