Stopping short of saying that she would offer issue-based support to the Narendra Modi government, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Friday carefully calibrated her position vis-a-vis the Centre, saying her government would oppose proposals like 100 per cent FDI in defence but support central projects similar to those already in place in the state.
Mamata said apart from FDI in defence, her government would also oppose public private partnerships in Railways and Civil Aviation that the Modi government was mulling and which were reflected in President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at the inaugural session of Parliament.
She, however, said a number of projects mentioned in the President’s speech were similar to those of the West Bengal government. For example, the madrassa modernisation and Beti Bachao Beti Parao schemes were replicas of the state government’s “Kanyashree” programme for girl child and introduction of English-medium madrasas in the state.
The CM also criticised the withdrawal of 13 CRPF companies from the state unilaterally. “The state government was not consulted on withdrawal of the central police forces,” Mamata said, an issue that Trinamool MP Sudip Badopadhyay also raised in Parliament recently.
Mamata said her state shared borders with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and also Maoists-hit states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. “If Bengal is secured, then Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh will be secured too. If Bengal is happy, the neighbouring states will be happy too,” she said. She said the state recently carried out inspection of sites for setting up of 20 watch-towers on the India-Bangladesh border.
On the threat of “communal politics” in the state, she said, “Bengal was a tough turf for any communally sensitive agenda. We will never allow any communal violence to affect Bengal.”
“We fully understand the essence of spiritual India, the India of our saints and sanyasis. I personally worship and perform puja. I worship my mother. I do not take religion and puja to the streets. No one will be able to disturb the communal harmony in the state,” she said, as several opposition members referred to the rise of communal politics and strengthening of BJP in the state. “The TMC knows how to fight communal forces,” she said.
In the asembly, CPM’s Surya Kanta Mishra, the leader of the opposition, led a walkout by his party members when the CM was taking part on the home department budget, alleging she was avoiding answers raised by the opposition. Earlier, participating in the debate, Mishra said more than 176 CPM men have been killed in the state and nearly 48,000 people were driven out of their homes after political violence in the state.
On Friday, the first question to the AAP was related to its “anti-national activities”.