Updated: October 29, 2021 3:01:42 pm
Addressing TMC workers in Goa for the first time, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee said in Konkani, “Dillichi dadagiri anik naka (No more bullying by Delhi)”. Speaking at the International Centre in Dona Paula, Banerjee said, “I am just like your sister. I have not come to capture your power. But my heart touches to see the people when they’re facing trouble.
“Some people question, Mamatadi is in Bengal, how will she go to Goa? Why not? I am an Indian. I can go anywhere… when I came to inaugurate a film festival, nobody asked this question, when I came for development works, they never asked this question. And you are asking me this question whether I am a Hindu or a Muslim or a Catholic or Christian? What is this? I believe in secularism, I believe in unity. India is my motherland. If Bengal is my motherland, Goa is also my motherland,” said Banerjee.
She said that the BJP had often said she was ‘anti-Hindu’. “I am Hindu. Who are you to give me a character certificate?… I am also from a Brahmin family but I did not say all this. I am sorry to say. I feel guilty because this never happened earlier.”
“I will die but I will never divide the country. We unite people, we don’t divide them,” said Banerjee.
She said TMC wanted Goans to elect their own government and that her party will help. “I am not an outsider. I am not going to be the chief minister of Goa but I want to see that there is a system, policing, federalism and an anti-corruption government,” Banerjee said, adding that she wanted “insiders” to take charge.
She said the Congress had contested for the last 60 years, but did nothing. “You (Congress) cannot control your MLAs? You let the BJP come to power? Who can say it will not happen again?” she said.
She said some people had shown her black flags and mentioned that the people of Goa will ‘blacklist’ the BJP soon.
“Agar hum Tripura jaata hai to pitta hai. Assam jane nahi deta hai. UP jaate hai to Lakhimpur pe jaane nahi diya, chupake hamara MP logon ne kiya. (When we go to Tripura, they beat us. They don’t let us enter Assam. In UP, too, our MPs had to travel discreetly to go to Lakhimpur). I come to Goa, they deface my posters. Abhi karlo, karte karte kab aap deface ho jaoge India se, tab pata chalega (Keep doing it, you’ll eventually get defaced from India yourself. It is then that you’ll know),” she said.
She reminded her party workers that she had been to Goa as a Union minister ten years ago to inaugurate IFFI, as railway minister she came to Margao to launch the anti-pollution device that led to a reduction in train accidents. “Nothing new that I came for political purpose. I came earlier for development purpose, for cultural purpose,” she pointed out.
“I know each and every part of this country better than anyone else. I worked as the railway minister twice,” Banerjee said.
Like TMC leaders who flew down from Kolkata ahead of her visit, Banerjee also indicated the similarities between her home state and poll-bound Goa. “In Bengal we love fish, you also love fish. But you have sea fish. It is good for health. You love football clubs, Bengal also has them. Last time, the slogan was ‘Khela Hobe’, there will a game, and football is our heart just like you. Folk culture, Bengal and Goa, is the same thing.”
She also vowed to empower women. “I can assure you, we want to give more importance to women and the younger generation.” Later, Banerjee met fishermen in Betim. She is scheduled to visit three temples in Ponda, South Goa later.
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