TARGETING THE BJP on the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that “intolerance is the biggest programme of the government at the Centre”. She asserted that it is her duty to protect the minorities, even if people call it appeasement.
She was speaking at a public meeting at Mayo Road in Kolkata, organised by the Trinamool Congress youth wing to observe ‘Communal Harmony Day’.
“Intolerance is the biggest programme of the government at the Centre and a party. I am also a Hindu, but that doesn’t give me the right to hate Muslims or Christians. What one will eat or wear is one’s own choice, and no one has the right to intervene. It is a bigger problem than an emergency situation,” Mamata said.
Taking a dig at BJP leaders, including party national chief Amit Shah, Mamata said that on one hand, Dalits are being subjected to atrocities and on the other, BJP leaders are seen having food at the house of Dalits. “They bring food from five-star hotels and eat at Dalit households when elections are near. On the other hand, Dalits are being killed and face atrocities throughout the country.”
“There is 31 per cent Muslims and 23 per cent Dalits in West Bengal… It is my duty to protect them and I will do it. If people say it is appeasement, so be it,” said Mamata.
“We feel proud of our diversity. We are all Indians. This is our identity. The divisive politics that began 25 years ago is still continuing… A certain political party indulges in communal politics and wants to divide the nation. Religion cannot be the agenda of any government,” she added.
Mamata said that someone who indulges in divisive politics, cannot lead the nation. “A true leader must take everyone along.”
Accusing the BJP of “trying to disturb communal peace and harmony in the state”, she said: “As long as I am alive, I will speak for the people. You cannot silence me.”
Alleging that intolerance has “reached its peak”, Mamata said: “Journalists are getting killed, people are being lynched. Who has given these people the right? The government must protect its people.”
“Roti-kapda-makan must be the issue during elections. Development must be the issue during elections. Whether a party has fulfilled its manifesto must be the issue during elections. Religion and the communal politics cannot be an issue,” she said while appealing to the people to remain alert and thwart any attempt to disturb communal peace.
Mamata alleged that while Centre government was using central investigating agencies to put Trinamool Congress leaders behind bars, “accused” BJP leaders were going scot free. “Our leaders had not taken any money. They had put Sudip (Bandopadhyay), Tapas (Paul) and Madan (Mitra) behind bars. We all know that donation is accepted by all parties to contest elections. In this case, they didn’t even want the money and were given forcefully,” she said referring to the Rose Valley chit fund scam and Narada sting case.
Mamata challenged BJP to fight on the plank of development. “In UP, they cannot even provide basic healthcare to the children and they talk big. We challenge you to compete with us on the plank of development,” she said.
The CM’s nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee claimed that in next year’s panchayat polls, Trinamool would win all zilla parishads and in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party would win all 42 seats in the state.
Calling BJP leader Mukul Roy a “traitor of Bengal”, Abhishek said: “Roy had not led any movement for the people of Bengal… There are 294 Assembly seats. If he contests anyone and wins, I will quit politics.”
(With PTI inputs)