Accusing the Left Front and the Congress of playing “dirty politics” for the violence during Wednesday’s Bharat Bandh in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she would not take part in the meeting of opposition parties called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the new citizenship law (CAA) and proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“I have decided to boycott the meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi on January 13 in New Delhi as I do not support the violence that the Left and Congress unleashed in West Bengal yesterday (Wednesday),” the TMC chief announced on the floor of the Assembly when the Opposition MLAs insisted that the House pass a resolution against the CAA.
She said since the House had already adopted a resolution against a pan-India NRC in September last year, there was no need for a fresh resolution.
As Opposition MLAs insisted on a fresh resolution, Banerjee said, “You people follow one policy in West Bengal and a totally contradictory policy in Delhi. I don’t want to be on the same page as you. You don’t tell me how to fight CAA… If needed, I will fight alone.”
After coming out of the House, Mamata dialled NCP chief Sharad Pawar and informed him that she would not attend the January 13 meeting, sources in the TMC said. Referring to the clashes between protesters and police during Wednesday’s bandh called by trade unions “against anti-people policies of the BJP government” at the Centre, Mamata told Pawar that “after what happened yesterday in the state it is no more possible for her to attend the meeting called by Sonia Gandhi”, party sources said.
On Wednesday, Banerjee had said that while she supports the cause of the bandh, which has been called against the Centre’s economic policies, CAA and NRC, her party and government were against any sort of shutdown and violence.
Oppn faultines exposed
Mamata Banerjee’s decision to skip the Sonia Gandhi-convened meeting has surprised the Opposition, especially since the reason cited does not warrant such a step. Nevertheless, Banerjee’s stand underscores the faultlines in the anti-BJP camp and underlines the trend of strong regional parties increasingly preferring to tread a solitary path.
The Left Front and Congress accused Banerjee of doublespeak, alleging that by boycotting the Delhi meeting of the Opposition parties, Mamata was “trying to please the BJP leadership”.
“She (Banerjee) is trying to please BJP leaders. She herself is adopting double-standards… If she (Banerjee) is really against the BJP, then she would support us. But her stand proves that she basically supports the BJP. If she really wants to fight against the BJP, then she should answer why her eight MPs were absent during in vote on citizenship law in Lok Sabha,” Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA in the House Abdul Mannan said.
CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said,” She (Banerjee) is basically answerable to her Delhi bosses in BJP. She is frustrated after the bandh called by the Left-Congress trade unions became successful.”
Meanwhile, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said, “These parties cannot stay united for long as they do politics only for the sake of power,” he said. — With PTI
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