Mamata sees Quit India Movement parallel
Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday likened her campaign against Narendra Modi and the BJP to the Quit India Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi against the British raj in 1942, calling the Prime Minister “fascist” and underscoring the “importance” of ousting him from the Centre.
“Someone had to bell the cat…. Back in ’42, the Quit India Movement was started against the British, and now we are here, carrying out a similar resistance against Modi,” she told an election rally at Debra in West Midnapore.
“In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi led the Quit India Movement, and today, we are giving the slogan: “Modi, stop the fascism and leave”,” she added.
Gandhi had launched the Quit India Movement — also known as the August Movement — at the Bombay session of the AICC on August 8, 1942. The movement, coinciding with the peak of World War II, demanded an “orderly British withdrawal”. It resulted in the incarceration of almost the entire Congress leadership. Most Congress leaders spent in prison till the end of the war.
The movement was crushed in a matter of weeks. The Hindu Mahasabha openly opposed the struggle and the RSS stayed aloof.
Although the British ruled India for five more years, the movement is believed to have made them realise that India had become ungovernable in the long run, more so in the wake of the costs of World War II.
Sources in the Trinamul Congress said Mamata had brought up the historic episode in the Independence struggle in West Midnapore because undivided Midnapore of 1942 had played a key role in the movement.
“In Tamluk and Contai, local people had successfully established parallel governments that survived till 1944. There were icons, such as Matangini Hazra, in the region,” said a local Trinamul leader.
“The Quit India Movement remains an emotive issue for people here and its evocation, even in 2019, resonates in the region. Didi is aware of it. It was a smart move by her to broach the subject here,” he added.
At the rally, Mamata said the country needed leaders like Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, B.R. Ambedkar, Rajendra Prasad, Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam, and not the likes of Modi.
“Religion and politics cannot be mixed up. I have seen so many prime ministers over the decades, but never seen such a liar. He is not even fit to become a councillor of a municipality,” she said.
“This election is for electing a new government in Delhi, to change the government which instigates riots, kills people and will change the history and geography of the country and even do away with elections if elected back to power. We will bell the cat. We will stop the BJP,” she added.
Claiming that Modi, if re-elected, would abolish elections in India, Mamata attacked him for alleged lies regarding Bengal and vowed to ensure “zero” seats for the BJP in the state.
“The BJP wants everyone to follow it and say whatever it says. But that cannot be allowed because we have to respect the culture of all people,” she said.
“The BJP’s leaders are saying so many things about winning seats, but they’ll win nothing. We are asking you all now, to save the country, oust Modi,” she added.