Goa Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders lashed out at the BJP for tagging their party as "anti-Hindu", and said a majority of the TMC legislators in West Bengal are Hindus.
Addressing a press conference, TMC leader Kiran Kandolkar asked why TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is labelled as 'anti-Hindu' even as Hindus voted for her party in large numbers during the polls held there earlier this year.
"A majority of MLAs who have got elected on TMC ticket in West Bengal are Hindus. Out of the total 213 MLAs of the TMC there, 160 are Hindus," Kandolkar said. "The BJP was not able to fool people in West Bengal due, to which a majority of the Hindu population voted for the TMC. The Hindu population in West Bengal is strongly behind the TMC," he added.
His statements come a day after Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant appealed to local people not to visit Kolkata "even by mistake", apparently referring to the alleged post-poll violence in the TMC-ruled West Bengal. Without taking any names, he had also slammed the supporters of the TMC and others for comparing Mamata Banerjee to goddess Shantadurga.
During her visit to Goa in the last week of October, Mamata Banerjee had said her party is national and ''can go anywhere'', and its initials - TMC - also stand for ''temple, mosque and church.'' She had also said that the BJP calls her ''anti-Hindu'', but it has no right to issue a ''character certificate'' to her.
Rubbishing allegations against Banerjee that she supports Rohigya Muslims, an ethnic minority from Myanmar, Kandolkar claimed that border is a central subject and added that if there was no control over infiltration from across the border, then Union Home Minister Amit Shah should be blamed for it. "I appeal to the BJP to study the past and understand who got Rohingyas into India," he said and asked why the BJP was not taking action against them in Assam, where it is currently in power.
Another TMC leader Yatish Naik said that his party is emerging as a "credible alternative" in Goa as the Congress is losing its position as the opposition. "We have to see whether Digambar Kamat can continue as the Leader of Opposition since the Congress is left with only three MLAs now, which is less than 10 per cent of Assembly's strength," he said.
Naik alleged that Kamat has stopped speaking against the ruling BJP "despite the party failing miserably in the state and also at the Centre. The TMC has been unnecessarily tagged as an outsider party by those who have forgotten that the parties like Congress, NCP and BJP were not born in Goa. TMC is a national party, whose chief was born in West Bengal. It is an all-India party," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)