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Shah's lunch at tribal family a show off, food was cooked at five star hotels: Mamata

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Kolkata, Nov 23: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday described Union Home Minister Amit Shah's recent visit to a tribal household here for lunch as a 'show off' and claimed that the food items served to the BJP leader were cooked at five-star hotels.

Mamata Banerjee

Banerjee, during a programme in Bankura, hit out at Shah for apparently mistaking a statue of a tribal hunter for that of freedom fighter Birsa Munda and said her government would declare his birth anniversary as a state holiday.

The BJP had, however, maintained that it was Munda's statue and asked the CM to produce a photograph of the tribal leader to prove her point.

'A few days ago, our honourable home minister had come (here), which was a show off. Food items like Basmati rice, postor bora (poppy seed fritters) cooked in five star hotels were taken to the Dalit household. One Brahmin was also brought in from outside,' the chief minister contended.

Shah during his visit to Bengal earlier in the month had visited a tribal household in Bankura and a Matua home in Kolkata.

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The family members were shown chopping vegetables prior to the lunch, but none of the ingredients were actually used to prepare the meal, she claimed.

'...Basmati rice and 'postor bora' were served and the coriander leaves which the family members were shown chopping were not used in any of the items. People these days can see through such things,' Banerjee said.

She also claimed that the house was sanitised and given a fresh coat of paint before Shah undertook the visit.

'Today I visited a village here, largely dominated by members of the Tapasili community. There, I sat on a khatia (cot) and met the locals. My visit was not planned. I met everyone and enquired about their requirements,' she said.

On the union home minister apparently garlanding a statue of a tribal hunter under the impression that it was that of Birsa Munda, Banerjee said 'such actions would not be tolerated'.

She also referred to the vandalism of a bust of Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar during a mega rally of Shah in the city in May 2019, and said it was an 'insult'.

'He (Shah) had garlanded one statue which was not that of Birsa Munda. Later I heard people saying that it was the statue of a hunter. You cannot go on insulting us like this.

From next year Birsa Munda's birth anniversary will be a state holiday,' the chief minister added.

Banerjee hit out at the Centre over the rising prices of potatoes and onions, which were removed from the list of essential commodities in the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill passed in September 2020.

The chief minister contended that the amendment to the Act was brought to protect hoarders and asked the people not to vote for the party responsible for it. She, however, did not name any party.

'The prices of essential commodities are skyrocketting. Who is responsible for this? Earlier, potatoes and onions used to be under the Essential Commodities Act.

Now Delhi (the Centre) has taken away the potatoes and you will not be able to have even boiled potatoes and rice,' she told the gathering.

Banerjee said that the party in power at the Centre will take away everything from the farmers, dalits, tribals and from the minorities and.

'If they (party leading at the Centre) come to power (in West Bengal), they will immediately try to introduce the National Register for Citizens (NRC). They will ask you for birth certificates of your father, your mother, your grandmother and your grandfather. And if you are unable to provide them with that they will ask you to leave Bengal,' she said.

The BJP hit back at Banerjee and criticised her for pursuing 'negative politics' over Amit Shah's lunch at the residence of a tribal family.

'The TMC has a habit of playing politics in every issue. The food that our party leader Amit Shah ji ate at Bankura was cooked there at that very house,' BJP national secretary Anupam Hazra said.

Referring to the controversy over garlanding of a statue, Hazra asked Banerjee to produce a photograph of Birsa Munda to prove her point.

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    'She is claiming that it was not the statue of Birsa Munda. I request her to produce a picture of the tribal leader to prove her point. Can the TMC prove that the statue we garlanded was not of Birsa Munda? Such tactics will no longer bear any resuls,' he added.

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