A ruling BJP MLA in Tripura, Arun Chandra Bhowmik, has stoked a controversy by allegedly saying his party activists should counter Trinamool Congress leaders in “Talibani style” if they land at Agartala airport.
The saffron camp, however, said it is the MLA’s version and not that of the BJP.
With an eye on the Tripura assembly polls in 2023, TMC leaders, including its national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, are visiting the hilly state frequently to try and build a base and an organisation for the party which till now has been confined to West Bengal.
“The TMC is trying to harm the Biplab Kumar Deb-led government in Tripura that came to power by ending the 25-year-long Communist rule. All these are happening due to the instigation of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” the legislator who represents Belonia constituency said.
Bhowmik made this remark Wednesday during a felicitation ceremony for newly inducted Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, Pratima Bhowmik at Belonia old town hall in South Tripura district.
“I appeal to all of you that we need to attack them in Talibani style. We need to attack them once they land at the airport here. We will protect our government led by Biplab Kumar Deb with every drop of blood,” he said.
A video clip of his comments went viral on the social media inviting wide criticism.
Reacting to his remarks, Tripura TMC leader Subal Bhowmik demanded the BJP MLA’s arrest.
“West Bengal TMC leaders were harassed last night at a private hotel in Agartala where they are staying. The incident happened after the MLA made this provocative remark,” he claimed.
BJP Tripura chief spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty said the comment made by Bhowmik is exclusively his own and the party does not take any responsibility.
“It is entirely his responsibility. This is not the culture of BJP,” Chakraborty told PTI.
When contacted, Bhowmik said he had made the remark as an example to justify how to counter the TMC seriously.
“I used the word 'Talibani' to make it clear that the way the Trinamool Congress is trying to harm the BJP government in Tripura, it needs a strong reaction. Use of the word ‘Talibani’ might have sent a wrong message, but my intention was just to narrate how to counter them seriously,” the BJP legislator said.
Clashes between the TMC and the BJP have been reported from Tripura over the past few weeks.
On his first visit, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee’s convoy was allegedly attacked by BJP workers in Tripura on August 3.
The TMC had claimed that two of its youth leaders from West Bengal sustained injuries after being attacked by BJP workers in Dhalai district of the north-eastern state on August 7.
The TMC alleged that two of its MPs -Dola Sen and Aparupa Poddar – were attacked twice by BJP supporters in South Tripura district on Independence Day.
The saffron party, however, has denied the allegations, saying the TMC posed no threat to them in the state.