Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who Monday skipped an Opposition meeting amidst protests against the new citizenship law and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and had faced flak for meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the state, on Tuesday said it is the culture of Bengal to welcome and extend courtsey to guests and even “enemies”.
Banerjee also asked the Centre if the amended Citizenship Act was a “ploy” to take away citizenship from those who hold it legally and give it to foreigners who have funded the BJP.
The Congress and Left Front had questioned the Mamata-Modi meeting last Saturday, accusing them of having a hidden understanding with each other. Last Saturday night, the Left and Congress students’ wing members also reached the dharna manch of the Trinamool Congress Chatra Parishad (TMCP), in Kolkata, where she was addressing the students, and questioned her directly about the TMC-BJP relationship.
On Tuesday, addressing the dharna of the TMCP, her party’s students’ wing, she explained, “We know how to behave with our guests. We show courtesy to even our enemies. This is the culture of Bengal, of India. But, that doesn’t mean we (TMC and BJP) are friends.”
“But you people (BJP) didn’t allow our party leaders to enter Jammu, Uttar Pradesh, Guhawati (Assam) and JNU (Delhi),” she said, seemingly referring to Modi’s recent visit to Kolkata and turning away of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) delegations from various places.
She had met Modi at Raj Bhavan during the Prime Minister’s visit last weekend and shared stage with him at a function, which drew criticism from the opposition.
Banerjee, who has been opposing the legislation from the beginning, said those helping the party get foreign funds and turn black money into white are being given citizenship.
“Is this Act a ploy to take away the citizenship of the legal citizens and giving it to the foreigners who have funded the BJP? This is the game plan of the BJP,” she said.
Apparently referring to the killing of Bengali labourers from Murshidabad district at Kulgam in Kashmir by terrorists in October 2019, the TMC supremo said the people of other states face no threats and are safe in Bengal.
“How are Bengali migrant workers being treated in other states? Some of them were brutally murdered in Kashmir. Those who went to Kashmir for earning something, what is their fault, can you say, my BJP friends? Why we had to bring back 200 other workers from Kashmir? What was their fault? How can you discriminate them like this? So many migrants work in Bengal, but we do not do it,” she said.
Hitting out at BJP for frequently naming Pakistan, Banerjee wondered whether the party has any “understanding” with the neighbouring country.
“Do they (BJP) have any understanding with Pakistan or are they brand ambassadors of Pakistan? Why do they keep on advertising about them?” she said.