With campaigning intensifying in West Bengal and the BJP pulling out all stops to wrest power from the Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation, several instances have been reported where local party workers have taken to the streets raising provocative slogans calling for violence. After a rally in Chandannagar area of Hooghly district yesterday, three BJP workers were arrested today for shouting “goli maaro saalon ko… (shoot the traitors)”, NDTV reported.
The report said that the BJP workers were retaliating to Trinamool supporters who had made similar calls during a march in Kolkata a day before.
The slogans were reportedly raised by the BJP workers during a roadshow as they walked behind a truck carrying BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari and Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee in the Rathtala area of Chandannagar on Tuesday, according to a PTI report. The sloganeering workers were carrying the party flag and the Indian Tricolour.
Adhikari, a TMC heavyweigh, recently jumped ship over to the BJP in December last year after simmering differences with the TMC supremo.
“Goli Maro slogans are unacceptable. The BJP is trying to provoke people,” NDTV quoted West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim.
The slogan, for which the ruling BJP drew heavy flak after minister Anurag Thakur raised it during a public meeting in Delhi days before violent riots broke out in northeast Delhi, has been condemned by several political parties for its racial connotations.
The BJP, however, said the slogan was aimed at the nation’s traitors “some of whom are in the Trinamool Congress”. State spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said the party does not endorse it, reported PTI.
TMC, too, was quick to distance itself from the catchphrase. Party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that its party workers were targeting “Bengal’s traitors” instead of “the nation’s”, PTI reported.
“Such a slogan should not have been raised from the rally…The words goli maro (shoot) should not be taken literally,” Ghosh said.
In March last year, the Mamata government had ordered action against three other BJP supporters who had raised the same slogan during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata.