West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused the Centre of 'hatching conspiracies' to pull down the governments in opposition-ruled states by employing federal agencies and money power, and branded the Bharatiya Janata Party as the 'most destructive' party.
The BJP, which leads the ruling coalition at the Centre, hit right back, dismissing her allegation as 'baseless' and asserting she will be ousted from power 'democratically' after the assembly elections due next year.
Invoking Bengali subnationalism, Banerjee termed BJP an 'outsider' in West Bengal and said the state should not be ruled by 'Gujarat and outsiders but by the people of the soil'.
Banerjee alleged the Centre has deprived West Bengal of resources and asserted people will give a befitting reply to it for the injustice.
"A conspiracy is being hatched by the Union government to destabilise the elected government of Bengal by using central agencies and money power. The BJP is the most destructive party the country has ever seen.
"When the country is busy fighting the COVID pandemic, the BJP is busy destabilising the elected governments in Rajasthan and West Bengal after Madhya Pradesh," she said, addressing her first digital rally to mark the 'Martyrs' Day'.
The Trinamool Congress holds a 'Martyrs' Day' rally on July 21 every year to commemorate the death of 13 people in police firing during a protest led by Banerjee against the then Left Front government in 1993.
"Why should Gujarat rule all states? We won't tolerate this rule of two brothers ( Narendra Modi and Amit Shah). What's the need for a federal structure? Create a 'one nation-one party' system then," she said, attacking the Centre over the political turmoil in Rajasthan while referring to the Gujarati origin of the prime minister and the home minister.
Warning the BJP against dislodging her government through 'dubious' means, she asserted, "They should always remember that an injured tigress is more dangerous than the dead.
"We don't need to nor are we interested in destabilising the state government. This government will be voted out of power democratically. The people of this state are fed up with TMC's goondaism and corruption," state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh told reporters after Banerjee's address.
Reacting to Banerjee's assertion that the TMC will hold its biggest ever rally in Kolkata in 2021 to observe the Martyr's Day, Ghosh said she should stop 'daydreaming'.
"Next year she will be out of power. This year the coronavirus pandemic acted as a face-saver for her. Had the rally been held in normal circumstances you would have seen vacant galleries. This year's digital rally was her farewell rally," Ghosh asserted.
In her speech, Banerjee alleged a 'reign of fear' is prevailing across the country.
The feisty TMC boss asked people to vote her party to power in the assembly elections due next year and promised to take West Bengal to new heights.
"People of Bengal will rule the state and not outsiders and people from Gujarat. We should strive to ensure that security deposits of all the BJP candidates get forfeited," she said, invoking Bengali pride.
Accusing the central government of 'maligning, insulting and depriving' the people of West Bengal, she said, before pointing fingers at her state the Centre should talk about the 'jungle raj and encounter raj' in Uttar Pradesh.
"Centre is conspiring against Bengal, saying every day there is violence and lawlessness. What about UP where jungle raj prevails. People there are afraid of even lodging a police complaint. Several police officers were killed in a single incident. The main culprit was killed in a so-called encounter to hide the truth," she said.
Indicating that the controversial National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be among the TMC's major electoral planks in the assembly polls, Banerjee said the people of West Bengal have not forgotten 'how innocent people were killed during the Delhi riots and genuine citizens thrown into detention camps in Assam'.
Banerjee alleged the NPR and NRC were tools to create a rift between communities.
"What citizenship is the BJP talking about? The refugees (from Bangladesh) have already got citizenship," she said.
"An attempt is being made to stir up communal disharmony. A party is trying to incite Hindu-Muslim riots. Remember that people of all faiths are equal. This country.... Bengal...is for all," Banerjee said.
She appealed to TMC leaders 'not to get lured by dirty tricks of BJP'.
"We have fought many battles together for the last three decades. We ousted the mighty Communist Party of India-Marxist. We will fight out the BJP too. If they (the BJP) call, try to lure you with money or threaten and intimidate you, please hang up the phone. Do not talk to them," she said.
Many TMC workers and leaders, including some MLAs, have shifted their lolalty to the BJP in the recent months.
She also cautioned intellectuals of West Bengal against 'falling into the BJP trap'.
Banerjee also appealed to anti-BJP leaders within the CPI-M and the Congress to join her fight against the BJP.
Meanwhile, Abdul Mannan, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, termed the TMC as the 'biggest ally' of the BJP in West Bengal.
"The way the TMC engineered defections in the Congress and CPI-M in the last few years, it will also get a dose of its own medicine. It was Mamata Banerjee who helped BJP grow in Bengal at the cost of the Congress and the Left," the senior Congress leader said.