West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Monday and apprised them of the prevailing situation in the state where escalating violence between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party workers has claimed nearly a dozen lives in three weeks after parliamentary elections.
This is for the first time Tripathi met Modi and Shah after the recent parliamentary elections which saw Bharatiya Janata Party put up a stunning performance winning 18 seats, four more than West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress out of the total of 42. Tripathi told reporters here that "I have apprised the Prime Minister and the Home Minister about the situation in West Bengal. I can't disclose details," he told reporters here after meeting Shah.
Asked about the possibility of imposition of federal government’s rule in West Bengal, he said there was no such discussion during his meetings. The Governor's visit to Delhi came amidst an uptick in clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters and bitter war of words between the Modi government and the West Bengal government on the issue of post-poll violence in the state.
On Sunday, the federal Home Ministry sent an advisory to the state authorities expressing "deep concern" over continuing violence in West Bengal, and said the "unabated violence" even after the parliamentary polls appears to be a failure on part of the state government. "The unabated violence over the past weeks appears to be a failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and inspire confidence among people," the advisory said.
The West Bengal government responded by saying there were a few "stray post-poll clashes" in West Bengal and the situation in the state was "under control". In a letter to the federal government, West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De said "firm and appropriate actions" were initiated in all cases of violence without any delay.”
Four persons were killed on Saturday in post-poll clashes in West Bengal. Trinamool Congress, in a letter to Amit Shah, alleged the federal Home Ministry’s advisory was "conspiracy" against the Mamata Banerjee government. "Why are they sending advisories to Bengal, a peaceful state? Why no advisory to Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat? It's a conspiracy against Mamata Banerjee, Bengal and the government. We dare them impose Article 356 (of the Constitution which empowers the federal government to dismiss a state government and impose federal rule if there is a breakdown in law and order)," Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee said on Sunday.
BJP observed a "Black Day" in West Bengal and a 12-hour shutdown in North 24 Parganas district's Basirhat, the epicenter of political clashes on Saturday, to protest the killing of its workers. Party workers took out protest rallies in Basirhat demanding immediate arrests of those behind the killings. .
Hundreds of BJP workers were stopped by police on a highway near Kolkata when they were on their way to the city with the bodies of the two workers who died in Saturday's clashes. BJP has claimed that at least three of its workers died in clashes at Nayjat, about 70 km from Kolkata.