Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she would form an unbreakable alliance of the national Opposition excluding none and asserted that when people have the final word, the BJP would have to go.
At the conclusion of her 31-hour dharna on Red Road here against the BJP government at the Centre, the Bengal chief minister suggested that her sights were firmly set on Delhi now.
“I cannot form an alliance on my own. If I form an alliance, I will unite everybody. That alliance, I will not allow you to fragment, to weaken,” said Mamata from the dais, having conspicuously spared the Congress in her political attacks over two days.
Till the saffron regime’s manoeuvres to have Congress leader Rahul Gandhi disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha, the Trinamul Congress chairperson had been firmly pitching a strategy of equidistance from the BJP and the Congress.
Since the action against Rahul, Mamata has been giving subtle hints ofdropping the tough stance on the Congress, for which she was repeatedly being criticised and accused of aiding the BJP.
“If someone goes outside the country and speaks about the death of democracy, they are put behind bars or disqualified from Parliament,” she said on Thursday in a reference to Rahul.
“If someone criticises the BJP, they are harassed through the misuse of central probe agencies. International press outlets like the BBC are also now showing the BJP’s true face,” Mamata added.
The chief minister reiterated her position that the question of who the leader of the united Opposition would be was insignificant in the general election.
“Money games? Showing off money power and the power of (misuse) of central agencies? Those who are in power today, when you inevitably lose in 2024, they will be the first to go against you. Remember, that is the way of the world,” said the Trinamul Congress chief.
Sticking to the theme of the dharna — denial of legitimate dues to Bengal, Mamata sent a warning to the BJP government at the Centre and said she was not begging.
“We never sought alms, we simply sought what you owe to the people. The money that we are asking for is ourlegitimate right.... If you do not oblige, I will ask the people to bring change to thistorturous (government at the Centre).”
Mamata — taking a cue from Abhishek Banerjee's comments on Wednesday that the anti-BJP movementwould be taken to Delhi — said she had reached the end of her patience, at the end of the dharna, and called for another “Delhi chalo (march to Delhi)” to oust the BJP from power.
“Everybody unite, not just the parties. Everybody loves Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as much as we love this nation. He had raised the slogan, Delhi chalo. If these atrocities don’t end, if the people do not get back their rights, then Delhi chalo will happen once again,” said Mamata.
“We will brandish pictures of (prominent freedom fighters) and we can also go to Delhi. They will not give trains? We will rent them, we will raise money from alms if need be,” she added.
“We waited till today. We expected some civility from the Centre. We expected them to apologise for withholding our Rs 1.15 lakh crore in dues and release them. Nothing at all. Since you have no love or sympathy for Bengal and its poor people, remember, the final day will be terrible for you.”
Mamata mocked the BJP’s propensity to inevitably label attempts at alliance formation in the national Opposition space as “thieves uniting”, sans principle, against their common foe.
“Only the BJP is untainted. All Opposition parties, when they come together, are corrupted. They (the BJP) don’t know, they are disrupted people, they finished the country,” she said.
“Say whatever you like, do as you please, we know how to conduct movements. We were born of movements, raised by struggles. If you think you will snuff out all resistance by intimidation, you should remember that the battle for (India’s) future will be against the one (the BJP) by the entire nation’s people. All the people should be united, and all Opposition parties should be united,” added the Trinamul chief.
“I believe there is a destiny, and there is a first and last word. You have to go, you have to go, you have to go. You are not of the people, by the people, for the people…. The people will have the last word.”