West Bengal Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Modi, Mamata Face Off Over NIA Attack

West Bengal Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Modi, Mamata Face Off Over NIA Attack

The allegation came against the backdrop of the NIA team coming under a violent attack from an unruly mob during a midnight swoop in Naruabila village in Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore.

Aritra SinghaUpdated: Monday, April 08, 2024, 10:26 AM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had a sharp exchange on Sunday with the former accusing the TMC of trying to shield corrupt leaders by allowing ‘others’ to attack the Central agencies and impeding them in their investigative work.

The allegation came against the backdrop of the NIA team coming under a violent attack from an unruly mob during a midnight swoop in Naruabila village in Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore. The central agency was probing a 2022 blast case that had claimed three lives.

It was almost a replay of a similar incident when Enforcement Directorate officials were attacked at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas on January 5, when they went to raid suspended TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh’s house in connection with a multi-crore ration distribution scam.

TMC wants to destroy legal system: PM

"TMC wants its corrupt leaders to have the latitude to persist with their wanton ways. That's why when central agencies come to West Bengal, the TMC attacks them. It wants to destroy our legal system and the Constitution," the Prime Minister charged at an election rally in Jalpaiguri in West Bengal on Sunday. Modi also alleged that the TMC, Left, and the Congress have formed the INDI Alliance to protect corrupt leaders in their parties.

NIA will be sent to investigate fire crackers: Mamata

Not the one to back off, Mamata tried to put the Centre on the defensive by suggesting that communal passions could flare up during Ram Navami, which falls on April 17, and lead to violence. Then, in remarks dripping with sarcasm, she remarked that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be sent to probe the issue!

Ram Navami is coming and if someone even bursts crackers the NIA will be asked to probe the matter. The NIA is likewise visiting every hotel in Purulia to inquire who is staying where, the TMC leader said at a rally in Purulia, clearly indicating that the central agency had a political agenda.

Firing another salvo, she asked the central government to publish a white paper on the inquiry that was conducted into corruption in Bengal. Some corrupt leaders have asked the central government to check the fund flow to Bengal. So many central teams were sent to Bengal for investigation. But what was the outcome? Uttar Pradesh too is saddled with corruption cases.

What measures have been taken there? she asked. She reminded the Centre that six days have passed since the West Bengal government wrote to the Election Commission seeking permission to build houses for those whose homes had been destroyed in the storm in Jalpaiguri last week. The BJP does not have to give money. Our government will only pay. However, since the Model Code of Conduct is in force, we have to seek permission from EC. Six days have passed and no reply has come, said the Chief Minister. Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP responded immediately and charged that the TMC chief was trying to ignite people ahead of Ram Navami.

I would urge people from other communities not to be taken in by what Mamata Banerjee is saying. She always lies. Last year too while she was staging a 48-hour agitation programme over the fund freeze issue for MGNREGA, she tried to incite people by saying that Ram Navami processions will not be allowed in areas that are dominated by the minority community, Adhikari said.

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