The Trinamul Congress started off the new year on Sunday with a bhoomi puja for the construction of its new headquarters in Calcutta and an avowal of the party’s intention to cement its position in the national arena against the BJP’s divisive politics.
“May this year be good for everyone. May we defeat evil powers, communalism and divisive ideologies; and replace them with secularism, harmony, peace and truth in Bengal under the able guidance of our chairperson Mamata Banerjee,” said Trinamul national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee on the sidelines of the bhoomi puja of the party’s new headquarters at Topsia here.
The ceremony was held on the day Trinamul turned 25. The new headquarters will come up on the site of the old structure at Uttar Panchanna Gram.
“Our political as well as social resolution for this year will be to ensure secularism, harmony, brotherhood and peace, instead of hatred and divisive politics, to strengthen our society. Bengal is the only alternative to the present situation, which is prevailing across the country. Bengal model will guide the country in near future. We will prove Mahamati Gokhale’s saying: What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. This will be possible under the able guidance of our chief minister,” said the Diamond Harbour MP.
On Monday afternoon, chief minister and Trinamul chairperson Mamata Banerjee is slated to address Trinamul workers at Nazrul Manch in Calcutta. She is likely to launch a mass outreach initiative and issue guidelines for the party ahead of panchayat polls.
Earlier in the day, Mamata had issued a statement congratulating Trinamul workers and supporters, vowing to strengthen India’s federal structure, putting the nation and its people first.
“Through all these years we have been committed to always keeping nation first, people first,” she wrote.
“We will continue to strengthen the federal structure of our great country, we rededicate ourselves to serve the people and commit ourselves again to ensure their welfare,” added the chief minister.
Abhishek, in his interaction with journalists, defended Trinamul’s attempts overseen by him to widen its footprint beyond Bengal, despite the electoral setbacks in Goa and Tripura.
“Panchayat elections will be held in due time and Trinamul is prepared for the same. I would reiterate on behalf of the party and the state government that Trinamul will ensure free and fair and peaceful elections where people are able to exercise their rights,” he said.
“Those who are saying that Trinamul will lose if polls are conducted in a free and fair manner seem to have forgotten the 2021 Assembly elections.... Those who are trying to bring up false information and mislead people, I would suggest they raise political issues and hit the ground. They face grave political bankruptcy and have no vision, agenda, or programme to offer for the welfare of the people,” added Abhishek.
“Doors of Bengal are open to everyone. Any political party across the country can come and spread their organisational hold here. Not just 40, they can do 400 rallies in the state.”
He was referring to reports that the BJP will hold 40 rallies to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and national president J.P. Nadda in Bengal this year.
Abhishek also criticised the BJP over “Jai Shri Ram” chants being raised at central government events where the chief minister is an invitee. “Those who don’t learn from their mistakes, what can I tell them? If they use political slogans at a government event, it only proves their political bankruptcy.”