Launching a blistering attack on Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress government, BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday declared that his party would make the Citizenship Act (Amendment) bill, 2016, a major poll issue in West Bengal and appealed to the people to give more than 23 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state to the BJP.
Launching the BJP's campaign for the general election in the eastern state from this northern Bengal town, Shah went all guns blazing against the Trinamool regime, berating it for poor law and order, corruption, killing of political opponents, "throttling democracy", and threatened a "tit for tat" if the state's ruling party used muscle power to rig the polls.
Shah asked the people whether they would vote for or against the Trinamool, which did not allow opponents to hold meetings, and said: "This election will re-establish democracy" in Bengal.
Reiterating that the NDA would again form the government with Narendra Modi as prime minister after the polls, Shah appealed to the people with folded hands to put 23-plus seats (out of 42 in the state) in Modi's kitty to "save Bengal".
Shah also made it clear that pro-Hindutva issues such as cow smuggling, infiltration, the citizenship Bill, Durga puja immersion and holding Saraswati puja would feature prominently in the party's campaign in Bengal.
The BJP chief alleged that the Trinamool "does not allow Durga puja immersion" and nor the Saraswati puja at various points of the state.
"This party is involved in cow smuggling. Vote for us, and we will totally stop smuggling of cows to across the border," he said.
Shah pointed out that the Modi government has given the state over Rs 3.95 lakh crore through the 14th Finance Commission, which was thrice more than Rs 1.32 lakh crore handed by the UPA-II dispensation to the state.
"But even this amount is not enough as half the money has been eaten away by your (Banerjee's) people, and the remaining half by infiltrators.
"If we come to power, then forget infiltrators, we won't even allow a foreign bird to enter the state".
He pointed out that the Trinamool members had staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha when the Citizenship Bill came up in the House, and asked Banerjee to spell out whether her party would back the legislation in Rajya Sabha.
"I am sure, she won't, as she is afraid of losing her vote bank. This Bill will be an election issue for the 2019 polls in the state," he said.
Shah raised the Narada sting footage, Sradha and Rose Valley ponzi scams, in which a number of Trinamool leaders were either arrested or grilled. "I know the moment I finish the rally, they will slap cases against me. The last time I came, they filed a case. I would like to tell Mamata didi to file two cases against me. She is elder to me, so it is like a blessing".
"Mamata di, as much as you spread muck, the Lotus (BJP's election symbol) will bloom with more intensity".
Shah alleged that his party was not allowed to take out 'rath yatra' to reach out to homes of the people as "Mamata di got scared".
"She feared that this yatra would mark the end of her government," he said.
"Even they denied permission to my helicopter to land. But I would like to tell Mamata di, that if you don't allow our 'rath yatra', we will bring out rallies, if these are also not allowed, we will take out marches".
On last year's Panchayat elections, in which he alleged that the Trinamool did not even allow opponents to file nominations and 65 workers of BJP and other opposition parties were killed and over 1300 injured, Shah said the Lok Sabha polls would be held under the Election Commission of India, with every booth manned by Central forces.
"Will you still feel scared? No one needs to be scared as only you can remove Trinamool," he told the gathering.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)