Kolkata: Without naming the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday attacked leaders of the party at the Centre for indulging in divisive politics.
While speaking at the annual programme "Pragatir Pathe" organised by the Minority Affairs Department, the Chief Minister said: "Leaders of the country should play a positive role in uniting people instead of creating differences among them. Those who try to break the country are not fit for leadership roles."
Raising again the issue of heavy pollution in Delhi that forced Sri Lankan players to use anti-pollution masks while playing an international test match, Banerjee attacked the Central leadership of BJP stating that "Both politics and the weather have become so polluted that one needs to put on anti-pollution masks to eat, sleep and walk and politicians need masks to speak."
"If Swami Vivekananda is the leader of Delhiwalas…they must know that he went to a house of a Muslim and shared a hookah to prove that it doesn't harm religion. There is a small mosque situated just beside Belur Math, and this is what integrity means," Banerjee said adding that the Hindu and Muslims in Bengal lived together in complete harmony.
She said: "Hinduism taught us to love our religion and respect other religions as well. It never taught us to divide people."
"They only indulge in big talk. They (Centre) cannot tell us whom we should speak to, and whom we shouldn't. I feel ashamed for those who try to divide people," she said adding that dustulok (bad people) create differences among people instead of uniting them.
"Some say that we are appeasing Muslims. But I would like to say that they are also our brothers and sisters," she said asking why such objections were being raised when steps had been taken for the welfare of all communities.
She further attacked the Centre for its lackadaisical attitude in releasing funds for development projects in the state. "The Centre collects Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax, Excise and Customs duties worth more than Rs 40,000 crore from Bengal," she said adding that they make tall claims while not giving even a small part of it.
"The financial grant to provide scholarships to minority students has been stopped. But we will continue to fund them as I don't want the studies of students from minority communities to get hampered," the Chief Minister said adding that the sanctioned budget for development of the minorities had been increased eight times in the past six years. It was only Rs 472 crore in 2011, and now it has gone up to Rs 3,717 crore. A record has been set by providing scholarships to 1.71 crore students, and this year the number stands at 34 lakh.