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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Mamata writes to CMs and leaders of non-BJP parties seeking unity

The theme of her letter and the speech revolved around how the saffron camp has been using central agencies like the ED and the CBI to corner political opponents

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar, Vivek Chhetri Calcutta, Darjeeling Published 30.03.22, 03:03 AM
Mamata Banerjee addresses the public meeting at Chowrasta in Darjeeling on Tuesday

Mamata Banerjee addresses the public meeting at Chowrasta in Darjeeling on Tuesday Telegraph picture

Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday wrote to the chief ministers and leaders from non-BJP parties with a plea to come together and hold a meeting on the way forward to fight the saffron camp that was allegedly unleashing central agencies to harass political opponents and trying to “influence a section of the judiciary”.

The Bengal chief minister, who is on a trip to Darjeeling, repeated her diatribe against the BJP as she spoke at a public distribution programme at Chowrasta of the hill town.

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The theme of her letter and the speech revolved around how the BJP has been using central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI to corner political opponents.

In the speech, Mamata broached several issues, ranging from economic woes inflicted by the BJP to the party’s false promises to people of Darjeeling before every election. Here is the crux of what Mamata wrote and spoke.

Central agencies

In her letter, Mamata argued that the ruling dispensation was using central agencies such as the ED, CBI, IT and Central Vigilance Commission “to target, harass and corner political opponents across the country for vendetta”.

“During the recently concluded winter session, Parliament bulldozed through the Delhi Special Force (Amendment) Bill 2021 as well as the CVC (Amendment) Bill 2021, in the midst of an opposition walkout,” she wrote, adding that “these laws enable the Centre to extend the tenure of the directors of the ED and the CBI up to five years in blatant violation of a previous Supreme Court judgement”.

Such central agencies are “jolted to action” whenever there is an election round the corner but the BJP-ruled states remain untouched by these agencies, she pointed out. Mamata said “it is amply clear that the BJP ruled states get a free pass from these agencies to paint a rosy picture of their hollow governance.”

Mamata stressed that time and again, the BJP was trying to attack the federal structure of this country by attempting to “influence a section of the judiciary”.

Dubbing it as a constitutional responsibility of Opposition parties to hold the government responsible for its actions and “to resist the stifling of voices of dissent,” Mamata urged for a meeting of all stakeholders in the Opposition.

“The need of the hour is for all progressive forces in this country to come together and fight this oppressive force. Let us commit to the cause of a unified and principled opposition that will make way for the government that our country deserves,” the chief minister has written.

Sources in the Trinamul Congress didn’t specify the leaders and the chief ministers to whom Mamata wrote.

Fuel price hike

During her address in Darjeeling, Mamata went after the Centre over recurring hikes in petroleum products after the recent Assembly elections in five states and called the price spiral a “return gift”.

Then, the chief minister took care to explain how she was different from the BJP as her government, after coming to power, fulfilled all welfare promises she had made before the election.

BJP ‘misleading’ hills

The chief minister obliquely reminded the hill residents of the unfulfilled promises of the BJP like “permanent political solution” and conferment of tribal status on 11 hill communities.

“Whenever elections are round the corner, some political parties come here and jabber a lot to take your votes. They forget you after the elections. This is why you do not need ‘Delhi ka ladoo,” she said.

Denial of grants

Mamata also accused the Centre of discriminating against Darjeeling, while referring to the special assistance which is provided to the northeastern states. “They (Centre) give 90 per cent subsidy to eight sister states of the Northeast. Darjeeling is also a hilly region and it should be provided with such subsidies. But they never consider it,” she said.

Ukraine students

Mamata lashed out at the Centre for being apathetic to the Indian students who were studying medical courses in Ukraine and returned home after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We told the Centre to grant permission so that they can continue their studies here. We are ready to help them study without fees. But permission is not granted.”

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