A controversy erupted on Friday after the BJP released a purported audio clip in which chief minister Mamata Banerjee is heard telling the Trinamul Congress nominee of Sitalkuchi to hold rallies with bodies of the four persons killed in CISF firing during polling on 10 April.
The TMC described the audio clip as “bogus” claiming such a conversation never took place. PTI could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio clip which was released on the eve of the fifth phase of the polls. Releasing excerpts of the telephonic conversation between Banerjee and Partha Pratim Ray, the TMC candidate of the Sitalkuchi seat, the BJP’s IT Cell chief Amit Malviya claimed that the “chief minister is trying to instigate riots by asking her party leaders to take out rallies with bodies”.
“She is heard asking her party candidate to frame the case in such a way that both the superintendent of police (of Cooch Behar) and other central forces personnel can be framed. Is this expected from a chief minister? She is trying to instil a sense of fear just for minority votes,” he said. Four persons were killed as central forces opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals, who “attempted to snatch their rifles”, near a booth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district during the fourth phase of polling.
According to BJP sources, the saffron party has decided to move the Election Commission over the audio clip. In the purported audio clip, Miss Banerjee is heard instructing Ray to keep his cool till the polling is over. “Don’t panic. You should make arrangements for conducting a rally with the bodies the next day. And also consult a lawyer and file a police complaint so that neither the SP nor IC can escape,” she is heard saying. The TMC’s Sitalkuchi candidate termed the audio clip as “bogus”.
“Such a conversation never took place. This audio clip is totally bogus. The BJP is just trying to confuse the people before the fifth phase of polling,” he said.
BJP president JP Nadda alleged that the ruling party of the state signifies the culture of vultures. “TMC signifies VULTURE CULTURE- of feasting on death for petty political gains. TMC should be ashamed of themselves,” Nadda said in a tweet.
Earlier, Miss Banerjee has described the firing as genocide by central forces and termed it as a conspiracy by Union home minister Amit Shah. Out of the eight-phase Assembly polls in the state, four have been completed and the remaining are scheduled to be held between 17 and 29 April. Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP and party’s national spokesperson Derek O’Brien today slammed the BJP IT Cell chief and the central government for releasing a distorted conversation of Miss Banerjee with her party candidate.
“We want to ask who is recording the conversation between the head of the state and her candidate for Shitalkuchi, Partha Pratim Roy? “We have earlier said many times in both Houses of the Parliament that telephonic conversation of the MPs are recorded,” said O’Brien, adding, “we are asking Modi -Shah to stop mind game.”