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Oust BJP for “failure” on all fronts: Mamata tells rally

Kolkata: Stepping up her attack on the BJP, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said it should be ousted from India for “failure on all fronts” and offered to back all parties which intended to fight the saffron party.

She announced that her party would hold an “Oust BJP from India” programme from August 9 to August 30 after alleging that the BJP had “failed on all fronts” including keeping good relations with foreign countries, especially neighbouring ones.

“We will oust the BJP from India. It is our challenge.

The Centre is trying to browbeat us with Saradha, Narada cases, but we are not afraid of it. None of us is guilty. We will not bow our heads,” she told a massive rally here.

Banerjee said the TMC would file a defamation case against the CBI and other central agencies for “harassing and defaming” TMC leaders.

The TMC holds a ‘martyr’s day’ rally on July 21 every year in remembrance of 13 youth Congress activists who were killed in police firing in Kolkata in 1993. Banerjee was then a leader of the West Bengal Youth Congress.

Ridiculing Banerjee’s call to “oust” the party from the country, the BJP said that the TMC had been “reduced to a signboard” in Tripura, where it tried to expand its base.

Six sacked TMC MLAs in Tripura had voted for NDA nominee Ram Kath Kovind in presidential election.

“She had earlier given a ‘Modi hatao, desh bachao’ (get rid of Modi, save the country) call, but the BJP won in four more states (after that). We are ready to fight her politics of appeasement and communalism,” West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.

He said the saffron party came to power at the Centre and 18 states through a democratic process.

Banerjee accused the central government of not allowing state governments to work freely and trying to intefere in their affairs.

“They are not allowing the state governments to work freely. If they are an elected government, we are also an elected government. We are not their servants,” she said amid applaud from the audience.

Banerjee said that 18 opposition parties came together and supported opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the presidential election.

“This platform has been expanded and we are also fighting together in vice presidential poll. It is just a beginning. This platform will expand in future to defeat the BJP, which thinks that it will have a cakewalk for it in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Things will not be that easy (for the BJP),” she said.

Voicing her party’s support to those who will fight the BJP, she said, “West Bengal will stand besides Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and all those who will oppose the BJP.”

She alleged, “India’s relations with foreign countries have deteriorated under BJP-led government at the Centre. Why can’t it improve relations with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, which have borders with West Bengal?”

In an obvious reference to the unrest in Darjeeling hills, Banerjee said, “If you try to disturb Bengal, then it will lead to disturbance in entire India because of its geo-political position.”

She also accused the Centre of unleashing central agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Ddepartment against those who had opposed demonetisation and GST roll-out in haste.

Described the prevailing situation in the country as worse than during the Emergency, she said opposition parties and a section of the media were being targeted for “speaking against” the Modi government.

“We are now living in such an atmosphere as where no one can eat freely, no one can talk freely. Dalits and Muslims can’t live with their self-respect. The BJP is trying to dictate everything. Even (Nobel laureate) Amartya Sen can’t speak,” she said.

Banerjee asked her party’s leaders and workers to start preparing for next year’s panchayat elections. “I have information that Lok Sabha polls can be advanced,” she said.

Claiming that the general election can be advanced, she said, “The parliamentary polls may be held next year. I have been hearing such news. We should be prepared. If all opposition parties come together, the BJP will be driven out of power in the next polls.”

On the cross-voting that took place in West Bengal during the presidential poll, Banerjee blamed Left Front MLAs for voting in favour of BJP pick Ram Nath Kovind.

“Both the Left and the BJP are playing a fixed match.

They (Left) are claiming to fight the BJP and are now casting their votes in favour of the BJP,” she said.

She also announced a series of political programmes in the state in the next two months and asked her party workers to stay alert so that no untoward incident took place.

“Please remain alert. The BJP is trying to spread rumours in social media websites. Please be cautions and if you find something is wrong, inform the police,” she said.

—PTI