Kolkata: In an all-out attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for seeking proof of Indian air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday asked the Trinamool supremo and her party whether they stood with India or “were helping our enemies”.
Taking part in a panel discussion here, Sitharaman refered to the deadly Feb 14 terror attack on the CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama and said “After that, when we struck Balakot, it was our fight against terrorism. But they are asking for proof? From the same state from where the entire nationalism movement began in India?”
The Defence Minister said: “Are they with India and nationalist Indians or are you helping our enemies? Are you giving support to their arguments? I can’t believe these people are from Bengal.”
The BJP leader was speaking on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security, and perspectives on West Bengal and NorthEast’.
“This Bengal today speaks in favour of Pakistan! Unbelieveable,” she said, alleging the Trinamool was “helping that Pakistan which suppressed Bengali speaking people in then East Pakistan (now Bang!adesh)”.
“Why is Bengal scared today? How can someone from here raise questions about nationalism, patriotism?”
Taking potshots at Banerjee, she said ‘didi’ (elder sister, as Banerjee is called) was “doing non-cooperation against the government of India” just like the non-cooperation movement launched against British rule under Mahatma Gamdhi.
“Against our own government? What sort of politics is this? Does Bengal not vote and send representatives to Parliament?”
Sitharaman said there has been no ‘parivartan’ (change) in Bengal during Banerjee’s chief ministerial tenure. “It’s only a bad clone of the 34-year communist rule. Did you vote for getting the clone, which is working against the interests of the common people?” she asked.