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A leader of the BJP’s youth wing has announced a reward of Rs 11 lakh for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s head following state police action against a saffron rally billed as a show of strength.

The threat came a day after hundreds of saffron activists took out massive rallies in the heart of Kolkata to mark Hanuman Jayanti, highlighting the growing muscle of right-wing forces in a state the BJP barely managed a toehold in the past.

“Those who will cut and bring West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee head, I will give that person Rs11 lakh. Mamata Banerjee never allows Saraswati Puja, fairs during Ram Navami and during Hanuman Jayanti procession, people were lathi charged and brutally beaten up. She organises Iftar party and always supports Muslims,” Yogesh Varshney, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, told ANI.

In West Bengal’s Birbhum district, police said they had already warned Bir Hanuman Jayanti organisers on Sunday that no rally or meeting would be allowed. The organisers pressed on and assured the police that they would not carry arms. However, the police did not move from its stand and charged on.

West Bengal – where Banerjee returned to power with a thumping majority last year – has seen mounting clashes between state forces and right-wing elements, who say the Trinamool Congress is biased towards Muslims and is anti-Hindu. West Bengal sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha and is widely considered one of the toughest bastions for the BJP – which has won a string of state elections – to breach.

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