regular-article-logo Wednesday, 06 December 2023

Led by Abhishek, Trinamul leaders, supporters all pumped up for 'Dilli Chalo' protests

Party plans symbolic stir at Gandhi memorial on Monday, day-log dharna at Jantar mantar on Tuesday; BJP leader Suvendu talks tough cites Delhi Police 'lathis'

Sougata Mukhopadhyay Calcutta Published 02.10.23, 12:47 PM
The protesters holding placards at Rajghat, Delhi

The protesters holding placards at Rajghat, Delhi Twitter / @sunnyBirbhum

  • Trinamul Youth Congress workers to shortly lead the deprived job card holders assembled in Delhi for a march towards the under-construction Central Vista project and the newly-built Sansad Bhavan
  • Santanu Sen, TMC MP: We want to give our people a first-hand experience of the amount of money the Centre is spending behind these unnecessary projects while withholding their legitimate dues
  • Police used force to disperse TMC’s workers and supporters who had assembled at the Raj Ghat premises during the party’s dharna, moments after Banerjee left the spot. Supporters clash with police resulting in widespread tension around Raj Ghat premises
  • TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee alleges he sustained injuries following an assault by the police. Banerjee and his supporters were seen entering into a verbal altercation with the police
  • Police vacate the main thoroughfare around Raj Ghat removing all protestors from the area and set up barricades on the road
  • Babul Supriyo: If the Centre is convinced that it is justified in withholding funds, why is the rural development minister shying away from meeting us, something we have repeatedly requested? Let him meet and tell us why he thinks he is right in his actions. The fact he doesn’t want to meet us means there is dishonesty in his heart
  • Abhishek Banerjee withdraws sit-in satyagraha at Raj Ghat after Delhi Police forces the protestors to move out of the Gandhi Memorial premises
  • The demonstration was held for about two hours before the leaders were asked to move out by the police
  • Tension broke out after Police sounded the whistle and dispersed Trinamul leaders from one of the entry gates of Raj Ghat where Abhishek Banerjee was briefing the media. Banerjee was forced to abandon the press meet midway and leave the venue.
  • Police use loudspeakers to appeal to TMC leaders and supporters to move out of the premises to allow the general public to visit the memorial and offer respects to the Mahatma
  • Bengal minister Sujit Bose was seen walking out of the premises without his shoes on. Bose alleged his feet were trampled by police boots.
  • Abhishek Banerjee: Gandhiji is no one’s personal property. We were disturbed by the Delhi Police all through our peaceful protest where not a single political slogan was raised. Our women protestors were manhandled by the Delhi Police.
  • Abhishek Banerjee: They are taking the people of Bengal for granted because they think they can stop legitimate dues at the switch of a button.
  • Abhishek Banerjee: Be prepared for a more intense fight in the days ahead. This is my challenge to you standing on your turf, where you have your rules and your referee
  • Abhishek Banerjee: We welcome a CBI probe, but the first person who should be arrested is Giriraj Singh because it is his stubbornness to not release the funds that is responsible for the deaths of the three children who were crushed under the mud walls of their home
  • Led by Abhishek Banerjee, a group of nearly 50 Trinamul Congress MPs, MLAs, ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet and state-level leaders sit in a two-hour Satyagraha, a silent sit-in-demonstration, at Mahatma Gandhi’s Raj Ghat Memorial on Bapu’s 154th birth anniversary demanding immediate release of pending dues from the Centre under various social welfare schemes including MNREGA.
  • The demonstration began after Banerjee offered his respects to the Mahatma at his memorial at around 1.30 pm on Monday amid a large-scale deployment of security personnel including the Rapid Action Forces of Delhi police and even central paramilitary forces within the Raj Ghat memorial premises.
  • The protestors were seen sporting black badges and holding placards stating their demands. Banerjee, himself, held a placard that read ‘Release Bengal funds now’.
  • Meanwhile, in Calcutta, the BJP’s Mahila Morcha has begun a parallel sit-in protest at the base of the Gandhi statue at Mayo Road protesting against the Trinamul Congress’s alleged corruption in various social welfare schemes of the state.
  • A delegation of BJP state leaders, led by the party’s state president Sukanta Majumdar, is also scheduled to meet the Union rural development minister Giriraj Singh and hand over documents related to the alleged instances of corruption.

All geared up for a two-day protest programme in the heart of the national capital in demand for the state’s pending dues allegedly withheld by the Centre, Trinamul Congress leaders, workers and deprived beneficiaries are camped in Delhi since late Sunday evening amid Delhi Police’s tight security cover around Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Raj Ghat and at the Ambedkar Bhavan where the protestors are temporarily housed.

TMC General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee being welcomed by party leaders on his arrival for the party's two-day protest against BJP-led Central government’s alleged apathy towards West Bengal, in New Delhi.

TMC General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee being welcomed by party leaders on his arrival for the party's two-day protest against BJP-led Central government’s alleged apathy towards West Bengal, in New Delhi. PTI

A section of Trinamul leaders under MP Abhishek Banerjee’s leadership are expected to hold a symbolic protest at the memorial on the occasion of the Mahatma’s 154th birth anniversary after paying their respects to the Father of the Nation. With no official permission from Delhi Police to hold such a demonstration at the memorial where leaders and dignitaries from across the world are visiting on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, it’s unclear still how the protestors would be treated by the security personnel.

“We are demanding Bengal’s rightful dues withheld by the Centre and one of the major schemes where the deprived grassroots beneficiaries are of Constitutionally-guaranteed schemes, the 100-day work scheme, is named after the Mahatma,” said Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Trinamul leader at the Lok Sabha, on Sunday.

“It makes every sense for us to hold a symbolic protest at the memorial of one of the tallest leaders of this nation,” Bandyopadhyay added in justification of the scheduled protest programme on Monday.

The party alleges that Delhi has withheld some Rs 15,000 crore payable to the state under the MNREGA and the PM Avaas Yojna schemes while the total dues to the state currently stand at over RT 1,15,000 crores. The idea, of course, is to bring a regional political issue into the national forefront and intensify opposition to the BJP in the run-up to the upcoming general elections.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Bengal unit of the BJP led by the party’s state president Sukanta Majumdar have also reached Delhi and are expected to hold a press briefing at noon to provide a counter narrative to the Trinamul’s allegations.

The party has been consistently maintaining that funds to the welfare schemes were stopped on account of rampant corruption and siphoning off of public money in the personal pockets of TMC leaders and workers and that they would be released as soon as the state provides utilization certificates of the funds disbursed so far.

A parallel dharna to highlight the issues of corruption and women’s security in the state has been planned by the BJP’s Mahila Morcha at the base of the Gandhi statue in Mayo Road, central Calcutta, on Monday.

Some 50 buses reportedly carrying some 3,000 deprived job card holders for the MNREGA and other rural benefit schemes left Calcutta on Saturday afternoon. Save one, which met with an accident and returned, the rest of the vehicles have beeing arriving in Delhi since late Sunday night after covering a distance of some 1,600 km.

Abhishek Banerjee has also taken with him family members of three victims of a mud wall collapse incident from Bishnupur in Bankura. The idea is to present the incident as a consequence of the Centre’s stoppage of rural housing scheme funds.

The protesters, alongside the party leadership spearheaded by Banerjee, is scheduled to hold a day-long dharna at the Jantar Mantar premises on Tuesday. The party leaders are reportedly also planning to take them out on a tour of the under-construction Central Vista and the new Parliament Building in Lutyens’ Delhi sometime later on Monday to highlight where public money is being spent.

Late Sunday evening, Banerjee held a meeting of party leaders at MP Saugata Roy’s residence in Delhi to deliberate upon strategies for the two-day protest and backup plans in the eventuality of resistance from the Delhi police. Emerging from that meeting, Banerjee demanded the arrest of Giriraj Singh the Union panchayat and rural development minister who had turned down the request for an audience from the protestors.

“The Trinamul can engage in any kind of drama they want. They need to only remember that there is no Bengal police to protect them there and that the sticks wielded by Delhi Police are six feet long,” said Suvendu Adhikari, Bengal’s Leader of Opposition.

Follow us on: