West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday asserted that two persons were killed during Saturday's violence and not five as claimed by the BJP, and slammed media speculation regarding early assembly elections.
Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, alleged that the BJP was "spreading fake news" about the law-and-order situation in West Bengal on social media and by providing advertisement to the media to defame the state.
After the clashes in North 24 Parganas district's Sandeshkhali on Saturday night, bodies of three persons were brought to Basirhat Hospital. BJP leaders had claimed that two of them were supporters of their party while the TMC said the third one was its active worker.
Both the warring parties claimed that several of their supporters have gone missing following the violence.
The police and North 24 Parganas district authorities have remained tight-lipped about the clashes since Saturday and have not made any statement on the number of deaths.
Banerjee, however, argued that the number of deaths was two, without giving details and accused the BJP of "inciting violence" in the state.
"There are two deaths, but they (the BJP) are claiming that five have been killed. They are lying. I have seen a BJP leader saying in a news channel that three people are missing. If that is so, why don't you give their names and address," Banerjee said at the state secretariat.
She also alleged that the media was spreading wrong information on the number of people killed in Sandeshkhali since the BJP was providing them advertisement.
"You are writing whatever the BJP leaders are telling you. Why have you written that four or five have been killed? You are not doing any cross-check on the claims of the BJP leaders. I know that the BJP gives you advertisement. I know how people are getting money from (yoga guru) Ramdev. I know everything," the TMC chief told reporters.
"Only a few stray incidents happened in West Bengal after the elections and that is also because of the BJP. They have started thinking of themselves as God. But remember, we have controlled the incidents," she said.
"Our state is the best among all the states in India. Our performance is number one at the national level. And I am shocked that some national channels are showing that people in West Bengal move around holding pipe guns and sten guns. This is being spread only to defame West Bengal," Banerjee said.
The chief minister also ruled out early assembly elections, as speculated in the media following the impressive performance of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls and in view of the increasing number of TMC leaders joining the saffron party.
The BJP bagged 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, just four less than that of the TMC.
"Elections will be held after two years. There is no relation between the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. You are running wrong news," Banerjee told reporters.
"Do not insult West Bengal and do not let others do so. It does not happen in other states. Media do not do the same in Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar and others," she said.
The chief minister was also not happy with the comparison between the situation now and that of 2009 when the CPI(M)-led Left Front government was in power. The TMC ended the 34-year-long Left rule in 2011.
"Situation then (in 2009) and now are quite different. In 2009, there were (violent) incidents at Netai, Singur, Nandigram, and peasants' agitation," she said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)