West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee compared BJP to Mahabharata’s villainous characters calling it a “party of Dussasanas”.  While a BJP MP dubbed the TMC government as “shikhandis”, as they invoked the epic Mahabharata in the political fight over the amended citizenship law. Alleging that the BJP was trying to forcibly implement the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), Banerjee said these steps are like “black magic” and she would stop this “anyhow”.

“The NPR, NRC, and CAA are like black magic”, she said and urged the people of the country to unite to save the nation. “We (TMC) are not a party of Dussasanas like the BJP. They are the off-springs of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq and people must unite to save the country from them,” Banerjee said while speaking at a public rally at Ranaghat in Nadia district.

Dussasana was the brother of Kaurava prince Duryodhana in the Mahabharata while Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq was the Sultan of Delhi from 1325-1351 and known for his eccentric decisions. Banerjee also wondered whether the Modi government would throw her out of the country because she does not have her mother’s birth certificate. The chief minister said despite her assurances over 30 people have so far died in the state because of the panic over the proposed implementation of the citizens’ register.

In the Lok Sabha, BJP MP Dilip Ghosh used the term “Shikhandi” against the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, as he alleged lack of action against violent anti-CAA protesters in the state. West Bengal suffered the worst during the anti-CAA protests as trains were burnt and rail tracks uprooted by protesters, the West Bengal BJP president said.

“Unfortunately, these ‘shikhandis’ are in power there. The police did nothing. It did not use its baton nor did it file an FIR, let alone firing bullets. I opposed it. Now I am being defamed. I am a patriot,” Ghosh said.

Shikhandi was a transgender warrior in the Mahabharata epic. He was used as a human shield to kill Bhishma in the battle. A reference to his name is often made to take a swipe at others for showing cowardice.

“While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shown banners like ‘go back’ when he visits the state, Rohingya Muslims from neighbouring countries are given ‘welcome’ because they are seen as voters by the ruling party in West Bengal,” he said. Participating in the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address, Ghosh hit out at protests, including at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital, against the CAA.

He claimed that protesters there were enjoying themselves feeding on “foreign biryani bought from foreign money”. The BJP is opposed to this drama, Ghosh added.

Ghosh had recently courted controversy, saying anti-CAA protesters who indulged in violence were “shot like dogs” in BJP-ruled states. In the Lok Sabha, he also accused the TMC government of working against the Constitution and democracy, saying the BJP was not allowed to undertake rallies, including in support of the CAA, in the state. The decision to grant citizenship to minority refugees from neighbouring countries was a “historic” step, he said.