West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged all political parties in the country to unitedly fight the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha election and remove it from power to save Indian democracy.
Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, began a two-day sit-in during the day against the BJP-led Union government’s alleged discriminatory attitude towards the state.
Stating that the 2024 Parliamentary polls will be a fight between the citizens of the country and the BJP, Banerjee said people from all religions — Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Parsi — must unite to defeat the saffron party and save the poor people of the country.
Addressing a gathering at the demonstration site near the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar on Red Road, she described the BJP as ‘Dushasana’ and ‘Duryodhana’ – the two antagonists of the epic Mahabharata.
“I urge every political party in India to unite to oust this Dushasana BJP government. This Duryodhana BJP should be removed from power to save the country’s common man as well as Indian democracy,” Banerjee said.
Banerjee started the protest alleging that the Centre has stopped releasing funds to the state for MGNREGA and several other schemes.
“Every citizen of this country is a leader against the fight with BJP. This will be a one-is-to-one fight,” she said.
Banerjee asserted that the BJP will lose the 2024 Lok Sabha elections as most of its allies have deserted the party.
“Their (BJP’s) peak time is over. When they had come to power they had 17 allies. Now, they are alone as 16 have deserted them. What will they do alone? They will get votes only in UP and MP,” the chief minister said.
The TMC leader said her party will back Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
Apparently referring to TMC’s Birbhum president Anubrata Mondal’s arrest in a cattle smuggling case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which has taken him to the national capital, Banerjee alleged that opposition leaders are arrested and being taken to Delhi so that they cannot work for the party ahead of the panchayat elections in the state.
In a washing machine named ‘BJP’ which was brought on the stage, Banerjee put black clothes which turned white. She asserted that corrupt leaders were spared after joining the saffron camp.
Lashing out at the BJP for questioning how she, being the chief minister of a state, sits on a demonstration, Banerjee said that if required, she will go to Delhi and stage a sit-in outside the prime minister’s residence.
“People were asking me whether I am demonstrating on behalf of the state government or the Trinamool Congress… I will say I am demonstrating on behalf of my party and not the state government,” the TMC boss said.
She claimed that those who got state government jobs illegally by ‘chits’ during the Left Front regime are demanding a hike in dearness allowance.
“You can see that we have kept a copy of the Constitution here. So, we must remember that the copy is kept here by those who have respect for it, the democracy and secularism of the nation… From here, I will give a call for ‘save India, save democracy’,” she said.
Banerjee warned people that any type of communal incitement in the name of celebrating ‘Ram Navami’ on Thursday would not be tolerated.
“The BJP leaders are saying that they will go out with weapons in Ram Navami processions. I will not stop them… But if in the name of Ram Navami processions, there is an attempt to create unrest, the law will follow its own course,” she said.
The sit-in will continue till 7 pm on Thursday and Banerjee will stay at the venue the entire night for that, strict security arrangements have been made in and around it.
Since she will not go to the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ during the demonstration, a temporary office was opened at the venue so that the administrative work is not hampered.
Before this sit-in, Banerjee in February 2019 had held a night-long demonstration when CBI officials went to the residence of the then city Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to question him on Ponzi schemes.