BACK FROM her three-day trip to Odisha, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said it was the “need of the hour” for all regional parties to come together and stand united against the BJP. Setting her sight of national politics, Mamata said that her party would “fly the flag of Trinamool Congress throughout the country” and contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Punjab.
Slamming the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for “putting Trinamool MPs in jails with the help of CBI”, the TMC chief said the people of the country would put an end to this “jail ka khel”. She was speaking after being elected as the Trinamool chairperson for six years at the party’s organisational polls held at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
“It is the need of the hour for all parties to come together. We want the unity of all regional parties. I appeal to them to be together. Be united. Our party must unite the people of the country and our strategy is to unite all regional parties against the BJP. They are trying to destroy the federal structure of the country,” she said.
On her plans for Punjab, Mamata said: “Workers from our Punjab unit have come here. I want to tell them keep up the good work because we will contest Lok Sabha polls from there. I will visit the Golden Temple someday. We will also do well in next Assembly elections in Tripura. In the days to come, our workers will reach out to the people in every block of the country…”
“We will support regional parties. Somewhere we will contest along with them and somewhere alone. The All-India Trinamool Congress will fly its flags throughout the country for the interest of the people, for the interest of unity and for the interest of all religions,” she added.
This comes a day after Mamata met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneshwar.
Accusing the Centre of pursuing “vendetta politics”, Mamata alleged the government was using CBI to put Trinamool MPs and ministers in jail in chit fund scams. “BJP is attacking us because we are vocal about certain issues like demonetisation. Our party works to protect the interest of the people and that’s why they are attacking us. They are using agencies like CBI to destroy us and put our MPs and ministers in jails, so that there will be no Trinamool government in Bengal. How many will they put in jail? One day, the people of the country will put an end to their jail ka khel.”
Mamata claimed the situation prevailing in the country was more severe than what it was during Emergency. “They have put our MP, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, in jail. He has been there for months without a fair trial. This is (even) dangerous than Emergency. Our minister Madan Mitra was in jail for two years. What was his fault? They put him in jail just because he was seen with someone in a meeting. But we are not afraid. One day Sudipda will come out of jail as a hero,” she said.
The CM went on to ask the 12 Trinamool leaders, who have been booked by the CBI in the Narada sting case, to be strong. “They (leaders) had fought and that’s why cases have been lodged against them. But they can never prove that they are guilty. Be brave and be strong, there is no need to be afraid,” she told the accused leaders.
Mamata asked BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits to shun the “divide and rule politics” and respect all religion. “Recently, a fatwa was issued against me and now, someone said he will not allow me to visit Jagannath Temple in Puri. There cannot be zabardasti on what I will eat and where I will go… we do not believe in such politics. They are deciding who is a Hindu and who is not. They are deciding everything. This is against our Constitution. This is not the culture of the country. We must respect each other. We never disrespect others and that is our culture,” she said.
Warning her party workers against the “negative campaign” against Trinamool in the social media, the CM asked them to stay alert and check the entry of outsiders in Bengal. “Some sister organisations of BJP are indulging in a negative campaign against us in the social media and spreading misinformation. They are getting funds from outside to play this dirty politics. Counter them in the social media. Unless we dethrone BJP from power in Delhi, our struggle against them will continue. We have to fight against this conspiracy,” Mamata said.
“I am also getting reports that RSS, Bajrang Dal and other similar outfits are sending their cadres from states like Gujarat, Maharasthra, Bihar, Jharkhand and others to our state to create unrest. We have to keep vigil. Be alert and identify the outsiders from other states and inform the local police stations. We will not tolerate this politics of revenge,” she added.
Criticising the display of arms during the recent Ram Navami rallies in the state, Mamata said: “Does religion mean carrying arms? I have never seen such rallies in the state. In the name of Ram, they are doing it. There is a limit. I will not allow this display of arms in the name of Ram.”