Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday indicated that in her fight against the BJP she was not averse to an alliance with the CPI-M saying that in politics and in democracy, “nobody is untouchable”.
“I have kept the options open. No one is politically untouchable. If opportunity comes, we will consider an alliance,” Mamata, also the Trinamool Congress chief, said in an interview on 24 Ghanta.
If a proposal (from CPI-M) comes, she said, “We will discuss it. I will place the proposal before the party. There are several levels in our party and it has to be discussed”.
Congratulating Nitish Kumar (JD-U) and Lalu Prasad (RJD) for win in the recent bypolls in Bihar, she said, “Had they allied before the Lok Sabha polls, they would have got all the seats there. I believe that nobody is untouchable in politics. We also allied with the SUCI during the Assembly election”.
Leader of Opposition in the Bengal Assembly and CPI-M politburo member Suryakanta Mishra, however, wants her to apologise for “her earlier mistakes” before she joins the battle for secularism against the BJP. “A battle for secularism has to be started. If she wants to join that battle, she has to admit her earlier mistakes like allying with BJP and sending flowers to (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi. She has to further restore the democracy in Bengal. Those are the preconditions of starting the battle,” Mishra said.
He said the CPI-M cannot forget that she brought BJP to Bengal. “She is the reason for BJP’s existence here. She never fought the battle for secularism with principles. If democracy is attacked, then secularism is also attacked,” Mishra added.
In her interview, Mamata termed BJP as “political pollution”. “I am not worried about BJP. Let them get five seats first in the Assembly elections, then they may talk about 294 seats. I worked with the party for (Atal Bihari) Vajpayeeji. But now they do not respect him. They have thrown (L K) Advaniji out. And there is a new leadership. They are trying to create communal tension. They do not know how to win people’s hearts,” she added.
‘Modi government believes in selling out nation’
Accusing Narendra Modi government of trying to sell out the nation to foreign powers by allowing FDI in various sectors, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said any global economic downturn in future would have severe implications on the Indian economy. “I came out of the UPA government when it allowed FDI in retail. They (BJP) are allowing FDI in every sector, including Railways and Defence,” Mamata said.
Asked to comment on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s questioning of her Singapore visit, she said, “What about foreign visits by our Prime Minister after taking office just a few months back? How do I make him (Jaitley) understand that there has to be a way out? He is talking about FDI, I am talking about PPP model. He is talking about forcible land acquisitions under the nozzle of guns, I am talking about land banks. They believe in selling out everything, increasing the prices and fares and cutting on subsidies”.
Praising the initiative taken by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress regime of nationalising Indian banks, Mamata said this initiative had saved India during the global economic downturn in 2008.
“Due to Indira Gandhi’s policy of bank nationalisation India survived the economic slowdown in 2008 and because India has a record of small and medium savings it survived the recent slowdown too,” she said.