The Left Front Sunday urged people to throw out the BJP at the Centre and the Trinamool Congress in the state, accusing both of being “corrupt and throttlers of democracy”.
Addressing a rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds on Sunday, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “chowkidar” (watchman) under whose watch loot and communalism are rampant in the country. The veteran leader also attacked the TMC in the state, stating that the “BJP and the TMC were two sides of the same coin”.
“The duty of a chowkidaar is to stay awake at night and guard the people. But Modi who claims to be a chowkidaar is doing just the opposite. We have to defeat Modi in the next elections to save the country. We don’t need such a chowkidaar in whose presence loot is going on in the country. They have spread the poison of communalism across the country. The Centre, which has looted the country for the past few years, is now doling out sops ahead of elections,” Yechury said.
“We do not want to defeat Modi just because we don’t like him. We want to remove him because we don’t like his policies. We have to fight for an alternative secular and democratic government at the Centre,” he said.
Sources said over 10 lakh people attended the rally, which is twice the turnout of TMC’s United India rally held last month. Calling the Union Budget a “jumla”, Yechury said the people of this country “won’t be fooled by his false promises”. “For five years, the prime minister looted the people and now when the election is round the corner, he is saying take this money I am here to buy your tickets. This prime minister is the real pocketmaar (pickpocket). You have to defeat him,” Yechury added.
Taking on the TMC, he said, “It is also important to defeat the TMC in the state in order to defeat BJP at the Centre. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said BJP did riots in Gujarat. Then why did she (Mamata) join the NDA government, if she was opposed to their politics? This is a mock fight going on between them.”
“Seeing the sea of humanity here, it is evident that the people will evict Modi from Delhi and Mamata Banerjee from Bengal,” Yechury said and threatened of an “inferno of resistance” if people were prevented from exercising their franchise by TMC workers in the state. “Last month, we had seen the opposition rally here where they called for removing the Modi government at the Centre. But it is the TMC which brought the saffron brigade to Bengal,” Yechury alleged.
Yechury also alleged that nearly Rs 15 lakh crore have been looted from banks due to non-payment of loans by “Modi’s friends” and the accused have fled the country and no action has been taken against them. He alleged that the “loot was allowed” so that electoral bonds could be bought with the money to fund BJP.
“Ninety-five per cent of electoral bond funding has gone to the BJP – this is corruption. Where did the proceeds of Rafale scam go, it went to the BJP through electoral bonds,” he alleged.
The Left Front-held anti-BJP, anti-TMC rally attracted a fairly large gathering, given the Left Front’s poor show in last year’s panchayat elections in the state where it had been relegated to the third position behind the BJP.
In his address, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said representation of the Left has to be increased in Parliament to make the voice of the working people and farmers heard. He alleged that democratic rights of the people have been snatched in the state since 2011 when the Trinamool Congress came to power and a large percentage of people have not been allowed to exercise their franchise in different elections.
CPM West Bengal secretary Suryakanta Mishra claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had invited leaders of opposition parties to the Brigade rally on January 19, with a hope that her name will be mooted by the leaders as the prime ministerial candidate but her wishes were belied.
“None of the leaders present there, however, suggested her name. Instead, upon their return to their states, the named different candidates as for the PM’s post. Her aspirations to become the prime minister is now turning out to be unfulfilled,” he said. He also asked his party workers to make extra effort and reach out to the people braving ruling party’s atrocities. “You have to resist the TMC attacks. You have to make an extra effort to reach out to the people. We have to restore democracy here. We need industries, jobs and factories. The Chief Minister says she has tripled farmer’s income here. If that is the case then why did her government announce Krishak Bandhu scheme for them?” Mishra added.
CPM MP Mohammad Salim also slammed the central government for “dividing Bengalis in the name of NRC in Assam”. “What Pakistan could not do, the central government is doing now. They are dividing Bengalis in the name of religion by implementing NRC. Here Didi controls the CID and there Dada controls the CBI. At the end of the day, nothing will happen in Saradha and Rafale scams as all evidence will be destroyed by the agencies,” he said.
Kanhaiya Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, could not attend the rally due to illness. (With PTI)