West Bengal

Bengal CM’s security breach: Police probing intruder’s Bangladesh links

From Mollah, the investigation sleuths have secured 11 mobile SIM cards, out of which one is registered in Bangladesh…reports Asian Lite News

The special investigation team probing the security breach at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence in South Kolkata, is trying to track the Bangladesh-links of Hafizul Mollah, the trespasser arrested in this connection.

From Mollah, the investigation sleuths have secured 11 mobile SIM cards, out of which one is registered in Bangladesh.

Sources from the city police said this particular SIM registered in Bangladesh was used by Mollah to transfer a number of pictures of the chief minister’s residence from different angles to a number of persons who are currently based out of Bangladesh.

Exactly from this development doubts have recurred in the minds of the investigation sleuths on whether Mollah has any connection with any Bangladesh-based underground outfit.

“We are working on certain specific clues in this direction, which we are unable to disclose now for investigation purposes,” said a city police official.

ALSO READ:Pakistan may repeat Bangladesh mistake in Balochistan

It is learnt that although Mollah’s counsel had been repeatedly claiming in the court that his client is suffering from mental disorder, the investigation sleuths are not subscribing to this logic considering the nature in which Mollah did multiple surveys of the security arrangements in and around the chief minister’s residence before actually trespassing.

“His survey system had a specific pattern. There are a number of lanes and bylanes leading to Harish Chatterjee Street where the chief minister’s residence is. From the CCTV footage and from his confession it is clear that he had made a thorough study of these lanes and bylanes. He also befriended local children offering them chocolates and cold drinks. This pattern of survey is not possible for anyone suffering from a mental disorder. Rather there was a specific pattern and motive behind this survey,” the city police official said.

After the event of trespassing at the chief minister’s residence, her security system has been beefed up. Peeyush Pandey, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer with experience with Special Protection Group (SPG) has been brought in as the director (securities).

India News Politics West Bengal

BY-POLL 2022: TMC sweeps Bengal

As Trinamool Congress swept the bypolls for both Asansol Lok Sabha and Ballygunge assembly constituencies in West Bengal on Saturday, the massive decline in vote share for the BJP in both these seats have kept the saffron camp worried with just around two years left for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

In the Ballygunge Assembly constituency, the BJP candidate, Keya Ghosh, finished third by managing only 12.8 per cent of the total votes polled.

In the 2021 Assembly elections, BJP’s Loknath Chatterjee not only finished second, but also secured 20.50 per cent votes.

However, despite Trinamool’s Babul Supriyo winning from Ballygunge, the party will ponder over its declining vote share there.

Supriyo’s victory margin came down to just 20,2208 votes, from the massive victory margin of 75,359 when the party’s erstwhile legislator from Ballygunge, late Subrata Mukherjee, won in 2021.

This time, Trinamool’s vote percentage declined to 49.7 per cent from 70.60 per cent in 2021.

However, CPI(M) has something to cheer going by the votes it polled in the Ballygunge bypolls. The CPI(M) candidate, Saira Shah Halim, not only finished second, but also improved her party’s vote share to 30.1 per cent from just 5.51 per cent in 2021.

More than Ballygunge Assembly seat, the real frustration for the BJP has come from the results in the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency, from where the BJP candidate had won twice — in 2014 and 2019.

This time, Trinamool’s Shatrughan Sinha won by a massive margin of 3,03,209 votes, creating two records on behalf of his party.

Sinha is not only the first ever Trinamool Congress candidate to win from Asansol since the creation of this Lok Sabha constituency, his margin surpassed all past records from Asansol on this count.

The victory margin of Sinha is even more significant since in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the then BJP candidate, Babul Supriyo, won from Asansol by a margin of 1.97 lakh votes.

Political analysts believe that bagging a victory margin of over 3 lakh votes after covering up a past backlog of around 2 lakh votes is something quite rare.

The Asansol results show substantial improvement in Trinamool’s vote share against a landslide vote share decline for the BJP.

In Asansol, the Trinamool improved its vote share to 56 per cent from 35.19 per cent in 2019. On the other hand, BJP’s vote share declined to just 30 per cent this time from 51.16 per cent in 2019.

The CPI(M) managed 7.8 per cent vote share from Asansol this time, which is more or less the same the party had got in 2019 — 7 per cent.

The fact that the decline in vote share is a matter of concern for the BJP was indirectly accepted by the party’s defeated candidate from Asansol, Agnimitra Paul.

“Just two years are left for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The party leadership should introspect the reasons behind this disaster and work accordingly. I do not want to give any excuse for my defeat. I accept the people’s verdict,” said Paul, who is already a sitting BJP legislator from Asansol (South) Assembly constituency.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Meanwhile, BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Bishnupur in Bankura district, Saumitra Khan, said that the ‘immature’ approach of the saffron leadership in West Bengal led to such a disaster.

After the victory in the bypolls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee indirectly hinted that playing a key role at the national level in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is her next target.

“I request the people of the country to have faith in us,” she said.

Political analysts believe that since the 2021 West Bengal Assembly pols, the erosion in vote share of the BJP has just aggravated and the erosion in the bypolls will send an alarming signal to the saffron camp.

“It seems that no strategy or line of campaigning is working in favour of the BJP. Remember, the bypolls happened in the backdrop of so many issues, such as the Bogtui massacre and the Hanskhali minor rape-muder case. But nothing worked for the BJP, which is officially the principal opposition party in the state now,” said political analyst, Nirmalya Banerjee.

-Top News India News West Bengal

West Bengal Governor prorogues State Assembly

The state government will have to take permission from the governor for the next session and it should begin with his speech, reports Asian Lite News

In an unprecedented move, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar prorogued the state Legislative Assembly from February 12, implying that the state government will have to take permission from the governor for the next session and it should begin with his speech.

“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me by sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 174 of the Constitution, I, Jagdeep Dhankhar, Governor of the State of West Bengal, hereby prorogue the West Bengal Legislative Assembly with effect from 12 February, 2022, the Governor in his order wrote.

Prorogation is discontinuing a session of Parliament or a legislative Assembly without dissolving it.

The prorogation order before the important budget session which is likely to commence from the end of February or early March is significant because the ruling party was mulling to bring motion against Governor Dhankhar during the upcoming session, accusing him of interfering in the day-to-today activities of the state government.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

According to constitutional experts, there is no instance in recent history that a Governor proroguing a session of the Assembly without the consent of the Speaker of Assembly or the Chief Minister of the state.

The move came after on Friday, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray had submitted a Substantive Motion under Rule 170 in the Rajya Sabha, urging President Ram Nath Kovind to remove Jagdeep Dhankhar as West Bengal Governor.

“This is an unprecedented move. The Governor has overstepped his constitutional duties because there should be a gap of six months between two sessions of the state Assembly. No Governor of the country has ever done this before. Earlier, he was not giving his consent to several bills and now, he has prorogued the Assembly. This is completely unjust. The state government should move the court against this,” Trinamool Congress MP said.

According to political experts, the order of prorogation is a result of the prolonged conflict between Dhankhar and the state government where the governor has repeatedly alleged that his letters are not replied, his queries are not answered and his constitutional authority is continuously undermined by the Speaker and the state government.

West Bengal Assembly (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/ IANS)

The governor had also alleged that the bureaucracy, including the chief secretary and the DGP, had failed to present themselves despite several reminders.

The rift between the governor and the chief minister reached a flashpoint after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently blocked the Governor on Twitter for purportedly tagging her in all of his posts, criticising her administration. The Governor has been targeting the state government over a host of issues and seeking information and reports regarding appointments to various posts.

Defending the decision, Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said: “He has the power to do this and he has exercised his power. This has been done because of the misrule of the state government and the continuous defiant stance taken by the administration.”

ALSO READ: WEST BENGAL: Communists in Limbo

India News Politics West Bengal

Rajnath writes to Mamata, Stalin over tableau controversy

In his letter to both the leaders, Rajnath Singh stated that of the 29 proposals from states and union territories, 12 were accepted, reports Asian Lite News

Putting an end to politics of tableau ahead of the Republic day parade, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart M.K. Stalin explaining the reasons for rejection of their states’ tableaux.

Politics of tableau heated up after the Centre rejected the proposals of Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu tableaux in the Republic Day parade. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention after the Centre rejected her state’s Republic Day tableaux on Subhas Chandra Bose.

In his letter to both the leaders, Rajnath Singh stated that of the 29 proposals from states and union territories, 12 were accepted.

Tableaux Delhi state and others State take part in Republic Day full dress parade rehearsal, at Rajpath in New Delhi, India on Saturday, January 23, 2021. (Source: IANS)

Singh said: “I would like to bring to your kind attention that there exists a well established system for selection of tableaux for participation in the Republic Day Parade, as per which Ministry of Defence invites proposals for tableaux from all States/UTs and Central Ministries/Departments.”

The minister said that tableaux proposals received from various States/UTs and Central Ministries/Departments are evaluated in a series of meetings of the Expert Committee comprising eminent persons in the field of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography etc.

“The Expert Committee examines the proposals on the basis of theme, concept, design and its visual impact before making its recommendations. As per the time slot allotted for tableaux in overall duration of the parade, short listing of tableaux is done by the Expert Committee.”

He told Banerjee that West Bengal tableaux were part of 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021 parades.

Nandi, Naga, Ganesha, Lepakshi to feature in AP’s tableaux (Source: IANS)

He also said that the government has celebrated 2018 Republic Day in honour of Subhas Chandra Bose and this year also the Republic Day celebrations will begin from January 23 marking his 125th birth anniversary.

To Stalin, Singh explained, “The tableaux from the State Government of Tamil Nadu was considered in the first three rounds of meetings. After the third round of meeting, the tableaux could not make it to the final list of 12 selected for participation in the RDP-2022.”

Singh told Stalin that Tamil Nadu had representation in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Republic Day parades.

ALSO READ: Stalin calls for unity among global Tamil diaspora

India News Politics West Bengal

WEST BENGAL: Communists in Limbo

This gives only a partial picture of the story, because the reasons behind the downfall of the Red empire is not only because of its failure to introspect or owning up the responsibility, but the crisis is much deeper…reports Saibal Gupta

With only few days to go before the 23rd party Congress at Kannur in Kerala, the West Bengal chapter of CPI(M) might have to go for a careful introspection to make it politically and electorally relevant for the forthcoming elections in the state, including the municipal elections this year and the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.

The year 2021 was a year of embarrassment for the CPM. Since Independence, it was the first time that CPM failed to send a single representative to the state legislative Assembly. In the Assembly elections held last year, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front failed to win even a single seat.

LDF CPI-M workers celebrate party’s performance

The Left Front lost a deposit in 158 of 177 seats it contested. And it didn’t end here. In only four seats, the CPI(M) secured second position, the worst was seventh in the Darjeeling seat. A party, which uninterruptedly ruled Bengal for 34 years from 1977 to 2011 was reduced to zero in merely 10 years’ time.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party’s vote share was a mere 6.28 per cent, and even then it failed to win a single seat. Two years later, the party’s vote share declined further to 4.7 per cent. How did this happen?

Though many leaders of the Left parties and political commentators have publicly said that the biggest issue with the CPI(M) leadership is that they continue to introspect but don’t do much-needed course correction. Even after their consistent electoral failures, not a single party leader took responsibility.

The party’s top leaders, CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, Left Front chairman Biman Bose, and other politburo members from Bengal like Md Salim, Hannan Mollah and Nilotpal Basu, observers say, made no efforts to revive the party and strengthen the organisation in Bengal.

This gives only a partial picture of the story, because the reasons behind the downfall of the Red empire is not only because of its failure to introspect or owning up the responsibility, but the crisis is much deeper.

The Left Front started to lose its ground from 2008 when Trinamool Congress — riding on its success of Singur and Nandigram — won the all-important Zilla Parishads in East Midnapore and 24-Parganas (South), two districts having a large number of parliamentary and assembly constituencies.

Of the 18 districts of West Bengal, though the Left front has captured 13 Zilla Parishads and the Opposition, including the Congress and Trinamool Congress, have won five, but indications are strong that Left is fast losing its grounds in the rural belt, particularly among the peasants.

The Left’s vote share had plunged to 52 per cent from the earlier highs of close to 90 per cent in the polls. This defeat was followed by the Trinamool Congress, headed by Mamata Banerjee, winning 19 out of 42 seats in the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 (the most by a single party), before dismantling the Left in the Assembly elections of 2011.

Despite Left-Front’s campaign — ‘Krishi amader bhitti/Shilpa amader Bhobisyot’ (Agriculture is our base/Industry is our future) — the CPI(M)-led Left has lost its base among the peasantry; its alliance with the Congress was counterproductive; it lost Hindu votes to BJP and Muslim votes to Trinamool; and now, by allying with a Muslim cleric, it has lost its principled stand on religion and politics, reducing it to political minnows in a span of just 10 years.

Another major problem that CPI(M) is facing is the leadership crisis. After Harkishan Singh Surjeet’s exit from the post of general secretary, the CPI(M) was first led by Prakash Karat and now by Sitaram Yechury. And as it happened, when put to test, the party’s national leadership failed as far as the party’s electoral fortunes are concerned.

At the state level, after 2011, a political void has marked Bengal’s CPI(M) leadership. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s departure from active politics has not led to the emergence of fresh leaders. Bose, Salim or Mishra hardly has any political capital on the ground. The workers on the ground don’t have much faith in their leaders.

The party seems to have realised this. In the last Assembly polls, it had fielded young leaders. Students Federation of India (SFI) leader Pritha Tah (29) contested the Assembly polls from Bardhaman Dakshin. Srijan Bhattacharya (27) contested from the high-profile constituency of Singur. Democratic Youth Federation of India’s (DYFI) state president Minakshi Mukherjee (33) contested from another keenly-watched constituency, Nandigram.

Sitting JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh (26) contested from Jamuria constituency in Paschim Bardhaman. Former JNUSU leader Dipsita Dhar (28) contested from Howrah’s Bally constituency. Apart from these, there are other young candidates like DYFI state secretary Sayandeep Mitra who contested from Kamarhati, SFI state president Pratikur Rehman who was the candidate from Diamond Harbour and Saptarshi Deb from Rajarhat Newtown.

Although all of them lost the elections, a majority of these young leaders performed better than their seniors and polled more votes. Political commentators believe the need of the hour is to bring in some radical changes in the CPI(M).

The result was imminent. In the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections, the Left finished ahead of the BJP by securing 11.87 per cent votes as against the saffron party’s 9.19 per cent. The BJP’s comparative vote share was 6 per cent below 2015, and 20 per cent less than the Assembly polls. The Left received 13 per cent fewer votes compared to the 2015 civic polls but 7 per cent more than what it managed in the Assembly elections.

ALSO READ-Chinese Communist Party seeks to ‘sinicise’ Tibet

Arts & Culture West Bengal

Don’t miss the 11th RadhaRaman Folk Festival returning to Leeds from 5-7 November!

Featured at a number of indoor venues, the festival also extends to Roundhay Park, writes Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

The RadhaRaman Folk Festival, a three-day long prodigious presentation of Bengali folk music and dance along with other global folk art forms, is returning to Leeds for eleventh year from Friday 5 November to Sunday 7 November.

The highlights of the festival includes 24 hour performances of Bengali folk music, Dhamail dance, Moroccan/ North African Folk Music through Oud, Nye and Lute, Irish and Flamenco dance, early European music, multicultural poetry, a panel discussion along with the ancient music from other cultures of the globe.

Featured at a number of indoor venues, the festival also extends to Roundhay Park.

Organised by Leeds-based art organisation RadhaRaman Society, approximately 28 prominent performers including award-winning musicians and dancers national and international artists.

The festival will also feature talks by a few guest speakers including important political personalities.

The inaugural performance will kick off at Seven Arts Centre Leeds on Friday 5 November leading to the all night session and many more on the days following.

Amal Podder, Amar Baidya and Sujith Chowdhury who have been very involved in this unique festival felt that this festival offers a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy a cultural extravaganza whilst promoting wider humanism and love to make the most of the living moment.”

Link below for free registration:

UK News West Bengal

Pujo Porikroma by Indian Bengalis in UK (IBUK), first of its kind

Indian Bengalis in UK (IBUK) has organised Pujo Porikroma in London recently during the Vijaya Dashami weekend of Dussehra celebrations.

106 people in two buses travelled and attended 6 Durga Pujo venues, traveling from as far afield as Birmingham, Leeds, Coventry, Southampton, Leamington Spa, Crowley, Surrey, and Kent.

Attendees on their way to Porikroma

All the attendees have initially assembled at the Hounslow Prabashi Pujo venue and offered Pushpanjali to the Goddess before boarding the buses.
The fun ride through the streets of London went up to Adi Shakti where everyone was served lunch.

The tour of an enthusiastic group of attendees continued to Adda Slough, Harrow Panchomukhee, Ealing London Sharod Utsav before concluding the Porikroma at the Swiss Cottage Library London Durgotsav where they had dinner.

Deity of Durga

The attendees then went back to Hounslow again from where they dispersed. This was one of its kind of Pandal hopping in England, just as it would happen if one were in India.

Covid protocols were strictly followed before and during the tour. The admins of the group have relentlessly followed up on individual LFT test reports, and ensured everyone used masks. Sanitisers were used at all entry and exit points throughout the day.Bijoya Shammeloni was also observed the following weekend, where 160 participants gathered for an evening of fun and frolic, dinner, and DJ.

-Top News West Bengal

Bengal sounds terror alert during Durga Puja 

The alert issued by the state home department asked Durga puja organisers to set up systems to monitor crowd movement. …reports Saibal Gupta

The state government has sounded a terror alert in the state during the ‘pujas’ — an indication that West Bengal is the new terror target.

Though senior police officers are yet to jump to any conclusion, arrests made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Kolkata Special Task Force (STF) in the last few months show the movement of terror modules in the state.

According to the NIA, these terror operatives use the porous Bangladesh border to enter the country.

The alert issued by the state home department asked Durga puja organisers to set up systems to monitor crowd movement. They have been asked to install CCTV cameras and watch towers in the vicinity of puja pandals and work in close coordination with the local police station.

The notice also mentioned that immersion of all idols have to be completed between October 15 (Dashami) and October 18 in consultation with local police stations. “In the context of the prevailing threats from divisive and terrorist groups to destabilise the country and to create law-and-order problems, you are advised to exercise utmost vigilance during the celebration of the festivals,” the statement read.

It further suggested, “The community puja organizers should be asked to engage adequate numbers of volunteers in Puja pandals to keep vigil on the movement of suspicious persons and all the volunteers should be directed to keep in touch with local police constantly.”

“The state government’s effort to involve the puja committees in the security mechanism is a significant development. It shows that the state home department is planning for a wider safety and security chain which in itself is conclusive enough to understand the importance and the possibility of an attack,” a senior official of the state home department said.

The NIA arrested Aal Halif alias Abu Ibrahim — one of the most dreaded IS handlers in this subcontinent from Bengaluru in 2020. This IS handler was a meritorious student of economics before his entry into the terror world. Halif disguised as Sujit Chandra Debnath was working as an assistant of a mason in Bengaluru.

Similarly, Kolkata STF — the elite Kolkata Police force arrested three JMB handlers — Naziur Rahman Pavel, Mikail Khan and Rabiul Islam — who sneaked into the India and were residing in the posh residential area of the city.

To avoid detection, Pavel used the Hindu name Jayram Bepari. He and Mekail Khan alias Sheikh Sabbir befriended two Hindu women in the Haridevpur area and had planned to get married. This would have helped them recruit more people without arousing suspicion.

These are not isolated examples but there are several other instances when the terror handlers have been using religion as a tool to fox the investigators. “Religion is no more a taboo for the terror groups rather they are using it as a tool to hide their identity. Changing religion is no more an important thing for these handlers rather they are using it effectively to dodge surveillance,” a senior Kolkata Special Task Force Officer (STF) said.

Another factor that is keeping the police and the investigation agencies on the tenterhooks is the lockdown and the subsequent unemployment which is making the work of these terror groups easier. Taking advantage of the porous border with Bangladesh and unemployment, international terror groups like JMB, Ansarullah Faction and even Islamic State are trying to spread their network in the state. The aim is to make West Bengal, the headquarters of the terror activities in entire eastern India.

Sometimes through direct interaction and at times through online, they are targeting brainy but unemployed young boys and girls in the state. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata Police have secured this information from the three JMB terrorists who were arrested by the STF sleuths recently from a colony in the southern outskirts of Kolkata. The investigation officials are worried that because of systematic brainwashing by these terror groups many meritorious but unemployed youths are getting lost from mainstream society.

ALSO READ: Bengal’s sweet dish ‘Mihidan’ reaches Bahrain

-Top News India News West Bengal

Floods in Bengal displaces over 3L people from their homes

Though the NDRF and the Indian Air Force have been pressed into action, the situation is still grim in the state….reports Asian Lite News

Incessant rains last week coupled with huge volumes of water from the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) have led to flood-like situation in seven districts of West Bengal, leaving at least 8 dead and displacing over 3 lakh people from their homes in the last four days.

Though the NDRF and the Indian Air Force have been pressed into action, the situation is still grim in the state.

According to senior state government officials, incessant rains for four days last week have led to flood-like situation in the lower catchment area of Damodar valley, forcing the DVC to release water which led to the rise of water-level in different rivers like Rupnarayan, Gandheshwari, Darakeshwar and Keleghai, flooding several villages in the districts of East Bardhaman, West Bardhaman, West Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South and North 24 Parganas.

The situation is such that the state government had to seek the help of Indian Air Force, and from Monday onwards, two IAF helicopters were pressed into action.

The Army and the Air Force on Monday undertook rescue and relief operations in Hooghly district, where many areas have been submerged due to excess rainfall and overflowing of rivers.

Several areas in East Bardhaman, West Bardhaman, West Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South 24 Parganas districts are reeling under flood, with people struggling to wade through waist-deep water.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed the ministers to keep a tab on the rescue operations and see that relief materials reach all the affected people.

Over one lakh tarpaulin, 1,000 MT of rice, thousands of drinking water pouches and clean clothes have been sent to the rescue shelters for those affected, an official stated.

“We have not yet estimated the loss incurred due to the floods. As of now, our sole priority is to rescue the affected people,” a senior state government official said.

Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, who visited the flood-hit areas in Ghatal in West Medinipur district on Monday, said that he would apprise the Chief Minister of the situation, and steps would be taken accordingly to tackle the situation.

“I have witnessed several floods in the past, but the situation is terrible this time. The CM had asked me to look into the matter. After conducting the survey, I will report to her,” Mukherjee said.

“At least one lakh people have been moved to safety in Hooghly district alone after their houses were damaged. There are several others who are still stranded on the roofs of their homes or on elevated structures,” he said, adding that the NDRF personnel are working to rescue them.

Choppers have dropped emergency food supplies in the affected areas.

“Helicopters of the Indian Air Force rescued 31 people from rooftops and brought them to Arambagh,” he added.

One flood-relief column of the Army was deployed at Dhanyaghari in Hooghly, the official said.

Meanwhile, a DVC official said that water was last discharged from its dams on July 31.

ALSO READ: India, UK hold joint naval exercise in Bay of Bengal
-Top News India News West Bengal

Mamata calls for national front to defeat BJP

Reaching out to the senior opposition leaders of the country, Banerjee said, “We need to build a front and fight for a common cause….reports Asian Lite News

Sounding the bugle for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her virtual Martyrs Day speech on Wednesday not only went for an all-out attack against the saffron party, but also indicated that the Trinamool is ready to play an important role in national politics as she urged all the political parties to forget their narrow self-interests and unite on a single platform.

A Trinamool Congress observes July 21 as Martyrs’ Day every year to remember the 13 persons who were killed at a Youth Congress rally in Kolkata in 1993. After a landslide victory in the recent Assembly elections, the Trinamool on Wednesday virtually telecast Banerjee’s speech in various platforms across the country.

Reaching out to the senior opposition leaders of the country, Banerjee said, “We need to build a front and fight for a common cause. So please go and convince your leaders so that we can come together, leaving our narrow self-interests and differences behind, and fight unitedly against the BJP, as only then we can only save this country.”

Warning that it will be too late if time is wasted further on other things, the Chief Minister said, “We have only one interest, which is to save the country and its people. The interest is to save the federal structure and the other states of the country. So go and convince your leaders so that we can start working on the front from now only.”

Making it clear that she would like to function as a common worker in the proposed front, Banerjee said that she would go to Delhi on July 27 and stay there for three days, as she asked senior opposition leaders who were present in the virtual meeting in Delhi to organise a meeting so that the talks can start.

“I always go to Delhi during the Parliament session so that I can meet the leaders. This time I hope to meet some senior leaders,” she added.

Banerjee was referring to senior leaders like Sharad Pawar, P. Chidambaram, Jaya Bachchan, Supriya Sule, Digvijaya Singh, Ram Gopal Jadav and representatives from the DMK, TRS, AAP, RJD and Akali Dal who were present at the Constitution Club in New Delhi to hear Banerjee speak.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PIB)

Not only in Delhi, but the Chief Minister’s speech was aired in several states including Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Tripura and poll-bound Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

Invigorating the popular ‘Khela Hobe’ (The game will happen) slogan that hit the nerves of the people during the recently-concluded Assembly polls in Bengal, the Chief Minister said, “Khela will happen in all states until the BJP is removed from the country. We’ll celebrate a ‘Khela Diwas’ on August 16. We’ll give footballs to poor children”.

Banerjee, who came with the camera of her mobile phone covered as a sign of protest against the Pegasus spyware controversy, also launched a scathing attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government at the Centre, alleging that the saffron party wants to “turn India into a surveillance state instead of keeping it a democratic country”.

“I cannot talk to anyone. You are paying too much money for spying. I have plastered my phone. We should also plaster the Centre otherwise the country will be destroyed. The BJP has bulldozed the federal structure of the nation,” Banerjee said, adding that the money collected by the Centre through taxes on fuel is being spent on spying.

“Pegasus is dangerous and ferocious. Sometimes I cannot talk to anyone. I can’t even talk to the Chief Ministers of Delhi or Odisha,” she said.

“Spygiri is going on and the BJP has bulldozed our federal structure. Phones of ministers and judges are being tapped. They have finished the democratic structure of the country. Pegasus snooped on the election process, the judiciary, ministers and media houses,” Banerjee said, as she appealed to the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance of the alleged surveillance operation using the Pegasus spyware.

Holding the BJP government responsible for the four lakh Covid deaths in the country, the Chief Minister said that the second wave of the pandemic marked the “monumental failure of the Modi government”.

“When the country was suffering from dearth of vaccines, medicines and oxygen, they (Narendra Modi and Amit Shah) were coming to Bengal as daily passengers during the elections. They had used all their powers — money, muscle, mafia and agencies — but the people of this state have made them realise that they cannot win Bengal. I am thankful to my brothers and sisters, all my booth workers and all those who have supported us in this cause,” she said.

ALSO READ: Mamata links Guv Dhankhar to 1996 hawala case