CPI-M and the Congress on Thursday slammed BJP national president Amit Shah for imparting lessons on nationalism and patriotism.

CPI-M MP Mohammad Salim said no one wants to hear any lecture from BJP’s national president on nationalism, patriotism and partition.

“It is the predecessors of the BJP ~ Hindu Mahasabha and RSS ~ that were responsible for partition and for their communal politics. They played no role to free the country from the British rule when freedom fighters were tortured and kept confined in Andaman Cellular Jail and hanged,” he said.

Criticising the BJP-led government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demonetization, Salim said Mr Shah’s prime concern is how to block the facts of people’s sufferings and the huge loss of the government exchequer following the government’s hasty decision on implementing demonetization.

“No one is interested to listen to the BJP’s patriotism and nationalism. Everybody wants job opportunity for unemployed youths, farmers want proper price for their crops and women want security,” he said.

The CPI-M MP further said Mr Shah avoided the prime issues of the country and, instead, was more interested in playing the communal cards. “He came to the state for political gain… He wants to divert people’s attention from prime issues and campaigned for the riot episode of India in old times for polarization of politics,” Mr Salim said.

He said the people of Bengal suffered following the riot and partition of the country and they want to forget those black days. “People of the West Bengal want peace and will not the support such politicians who favour communal politics and riot to gain political mileage,” he said.

On Wednesday the saffron brigade’s national president accused the Congress of deliberately promoting the first two stanzas of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Vande Mataram for appeasing minorities and this was mainly responsible for the partition.

“Many blamed the British and the Khilafat movement for the country’s partition, but it was actually Congress’ minority appeasement politics that was reflected in its approach into Vande Mataram for India’s partition,” Shah said during his speech to mark the 180-year birth anniversary of writer and poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.

Former PCC chief and Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya said Mr Shah’s call to party activists on Wednesday to make an endeavour to secure 50 per cent seats in the state in the next year’s parlimentary election is a daydream.

Of course, nothing can prevent the BJP leader from giving such a call, he added. But as a senior leader of a national party, Mr Shah should have given such a call after much forethought, the veteran Congress felt. Of course, given the nature of electoral politics, a few seats may be won by the BJP in this state, he said.

But it would require a sea change in the mindset of the electorate of the state to fulfil the target of seats the BJP leader is targetting, Bhattacharya said.

After all, BJP is a new entrant in the state politics and it would have several other parties to contend with, he pointed out. Shah’s call seems more to enthuse party activists than making a realistic claim, Bhattacharya said.

Given the reverses the BJP is suffering in bypolls and the Karnataka state Assembly elections as well, Mr Shah’s call to capture 50 per cent of the seats in parliamentary elections in the state is wishful thinking, he said.