Kolkata: Stepping on the accelerator in her bid to play a prominent part in the anti-BJP political space nationally, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said her party would launch a fortnight-long campaign from August 1 calling for the ouster of the saffron outfit from power at the centre.
She also announced her party would organise a “huge” rally in the city on January 19 next year, where “leaders from all over the country”, including those of the Federal Front proposed by her, would call for defeating the BJP at the centre.
“We will invite all anti-BJP political parties. I will invite (former Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi. I will invite the CPI-M too,” Banerjee, also the West Bengal Chief Minister, said later.
Addressing her party’s annual Martyrs’ Day rally, Banerjee predicted the BJP could end up with less than 100 seats in next year’s general election. “The maximum they can get is 150.”
The Trinamool supremo said: “We don’t like the chair (top post) that much, we don’t care for the chair, but we care for the country, the people, the soil of the land.
“Bengal will show the way to India, we will show the way to Parliament in the coming days.”
Banerjee said the August campaign would have the slogan “remove communal BJP, save the country”. “On August 15 (Independence Day), all of you should raise the Tricolour and take a vow to ensure that none from the BJP raises the national flag from the Red Fort from 2019 onwards,” she told her party workers.
She appealed to Trinamool activists to work for the victory of the party in all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal.
“We will organise the next July 21 rally after our India triumph,” she said.
Referring to the NDA government’s victory in Fridy’s no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, Banerjee said: “They got 325 votes compared to the opposition’s 126. The AIADMK voted in their favour. Had AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa been alive, they would not have received their votes. They would have lost.
“I doubt if they would manage to get even 100 seats in 2019,” she said.
Accusing the BJP of presenting a distorted picture of Hinduism, she said: “What sort of Hindus are they? Talibani Hindus? Are we not Hindus? We don’t believe in their brand of Hinduism. We believe in our Hinduism, which is inclusive.”
Banerjee said the BJP led coalition has already started to crumble, with its long-time ally Shiv Sena not casting its vote in the non-confidence motion, while another ex ally Telugu Desam moved the motion itself.
Former BJP leader and two-time Rajya Sabha member Chandan Mitra and four Congress legislators in the state – Samar Mukherjee, Abu Taher, Sabina Yasmin and Akhruzzman – joined the Trinamool at the rally.
Banerjee announced that the Trinamol would fight the general election alone in Bengal and warned the Congress and the Left “not to join hands with the BJP” in the state while seeking her support at the Centre.
“They should think twice. We don’t need their support in Bengal. We will fight alone. But they should remember that we support them in Delhi.”
Taking a dig at the BJP for the canopy collapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Midnapore last week, Banerjee said: “Those who cannot even construct a pandal, talk of nation-building.”
Pillorying the BJP for trying to establish its hegemony everywhere, she said it has purchased or terrorised media houses, interfered in the judiciary’s functioning, and even removed Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen as chancellor of Nalanda University.
Bengal’s opposition parties, however, ridiculed Banerjee’s call to remove BJP from power.
“She should stop dreaming about capturing power in Delhi as her ambitions will never be fulfilled. Let alone harbouring hopes of becoming the Prime Minister, I doubt whether she will be able to retain power in Bengal,” BJP General Secretary Rahul Sinha said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sujan Chakraborty said Banerjee and her party will be in a soup if people of the state get a chance to exercise their democratic rights properly.
State Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said the Trinamool supremo was indirectly helping out the BJP by stressing on the Federal Front while neglecting the anti-BJP grand alliance (Maha Gatbandhan) that has already been formed in seven states.