LEADERS of various opposition parties called up Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday to extend support to her over the confrontation with the Centre, with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi calling it “part of the unrelenting attack on India’s institutions by Mr Modi & the BJP”. The incident is set to cast a shadow over the proceedings of Parliament beginning Monday.
“I spoke with Mamata Di tonight and told her we stand shoulder to shoulder with her. The happenings in Bengal are a part of the unrelenting attack on India’s institutions by Mr Modi & the BJP. The entire opposition will stand together & defeat these fascist forces,” Rahul tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said, “The Kolkata events are an affront to the first principles of constitutional governance in a federal polity. These developments are intended to intimidate political opponents through an oppressive exercise of power unacceptable in a democracy… It is clear that the next election will be fought unitedly by the Opposition in defence of democracy, constitutionalism and fundamental freedoms.”
Extending support to Mamata, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted in Hindi, “The BJP government’s policies of harassment and misuse of the CBI for political purposes (have) endangered the people, the country and the Constitution… Today, the Opposition and the people are united in their fight to defeat the BJP.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had attended the United India rally organised by the TMC last month, called up Mamata after she announced an indefinite dharna over the issue. Sources in his office said Kejriwal might fly down to Kolkata on Monday to show solidarity with Mamata.
“Modi-Shah duo’s action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy. Modi ji has made a complete mockery of democracy and federal structure. Few years back, Modi ji captured Anti-Corruption Branch of Del govt by sending paramilitary forces. Now, this. Modi-Shah duo is a threat to India and its democracy,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.
When Kejriwal had sat on an indefinite fast inside the Lt Governor’s office in June last year, Mamata was one of the four CMs who had stepped in to end the deadlock.
TDP president and Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu also tweeted about the Kolkata developments, saying, “This is shocking and we strongly condemn this. We stand by Chief Minister of West Bengal to preserve and protect constitution and spirit of federalism in the country.”
Naidu added, “… a glaring example of how Modi-Shah duo are destroying the institutions. Attacking political opponents in different states… will have disastrous consequences.” He said after opposition parties had started uniting, the Modi-led BJP had lost all hope. “The misuse of Institutions by the union government to victimize political opponents in states is reaching dangerous proportions,” he said.
J&K National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Just spoke to @MamataOfficial didi to convey the support of @JKNC… The use of the CBI as a political tool has crossed all limits as has the Modi government’s misuse of institutions. A former CM having such little regard for India’s federalism is shocking.”
DMK leader M K Stalin tweeted, “The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government. I stand with @MamataOfficial Didi in her fight… to save democracy.”
Targeting Opposition leaders for their support to Mamata, BJP national joint general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh said, “WB CM cries #save democracy… Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, CBN, Kejriwal, join chorus… where was your democracy when the then Gujarat CM NaMo was questioned by the then CBI for 10 hours… Was not the democracy under threat then…?”
Santosh claimed that as Opposition leaders support Mamata, the image of Narendra Modi as the leader against corruption was getting strengthened.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan accused Mamata of using state machinery “as a political tool to hold the Constitution to ransom”. Calling the CM ‘Dictator didi’, he said her actions showed her fear of being exposed if the investigation was allowed to follow its natural course.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted that corruption charges against the TMC government in the chit fund scam have been public for years but the Modi government had chosen to stay quiet as “the top mastermind of the scam” had joined the BJP. “This drama in Kolkata by BJP and TMC is not a fight for any principle but only to save their corrupt and hide their corruption.”