Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after announcing her intention to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre on 30 May (Thursday) evening, took a complete U-turn.
In a tweet this afternoon, Mamata Banerjee said her decision not to attend the swearing-in ceremony was prompted by the BJP’s decision to invite families of 54 victims of political violence in Bengal.
“This (political violence) is completely untrue. There have been no political murders in Bengal,” Banerjee tweeted, adding that “the (oath-taking) ceremony is an august occasion to celebrate democracy, not one that should be devalued by any political party which uses it as an opportunity to score political points”.
But Mamata Banerjee seems to be suffering from selective amnesia. Her own oath-taking on May 20, 2011, was attended by the families of “victims of political violence in Nandigram and Singur” (read this).
She had accused the Left Front government of letting loose a reign of terror in Nandigram and Singur, two rural and agrarian belts in south Bengal where the government wanted to acquire land for a chemical hub and a Tata Motors plant respectively.
A number of people were killed in the violence that was triggered by protests by land-losers over the forcible acquisition of their farmlands in Nandigram and Singur. Mamata Banerjee leveraged these protests and then led them, and these two movements pitchforked her to power in the state in 2011.
She had alleged then that CPI(M) cadres had murdered innocent land-losers in those two areas, and she invited the families of those killed to her oath-taking ceremony.
Incidentally, outgoing chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who she accused of ordering the killings, attended Banerjee’s oath-taking along with Left Front chairman Biman Bose. Bhattacharjee had not objected to, or made any noise, about the presence of those families at the oath-taking ceremony.
It does not, thus, behove Mamata Banerjee to turn around now and accuse the BJP of devaluing an “august occasion”. Her hollow accusation reeks of hypocrisy.