In an apparent reference to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, BJP president Amit Shah said on Wednesday that the money which was so far been looted by the “syndicates” in Bengal was now going directly into the pocket of “the nephew”.

“The UPA government run by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi provided Rs 1.32 lakh crore to West Bengal in five years, but the Narendra Modi-led government has provided Rs 4.24 lakh crore in its tenure since 2014. Did you people get any money or receive any benefits,” Shah asked the crowd at an election rally at Chinsurah in Hooghly district.

“Where did all the money go? A few years back, the money used to go to those in the syndicates but now they are also complaining because all the money is directly going into the pocket of the ‘bhatija’ (nephew),” he said.

Shah held four election rallies in Bongaon, Howrah, Arambag and Hooghly in the state on Wednesday, where he upped the ante against the Mamata Banerjee-led government, accusing it of “throttling democracy and cultural traditions in Bengal” to appease her vote bank.

Claiming that only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was capable of out ousting Banerjee from the state, Shah urged people to vote for the saffron party.

“Elections are being fought across the country on the issue of development. But in Bengal, it is not just the question of development, as the elections will decide whether democracy will stay here,” Shah said.

“Mamata and her government have strangled the democracy in Bengal. I appeal to all of you to give 23 Lok Sabha seats to Narendra Modi from here. We will reinstate democracy and peace in Bengal. Neither the Congress nor the Left can fight Banerjee’s misrule and corruption. If anyone can fight her, it is the BJP,” he said.

Accusing the state’s ruling party of creating an environment of terror, Shah claimed the only factories that have opened in Bengal during the Trinamool regime were “bomb-making factories”.

Reiterating his earlier claims that Hindu festivals like Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja and Ram Navami were often not permitted in Bengal, he alleged that the Trinamool government was destroying the cultural ethos and traditions of Bengal for the sake of vote bank politics.