Religion cannot be agenda of a govt: CM
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the Centre, accusing it of practicing vendetta politics and threatening and arresting her party leaders as the latter were speaking against the BJP.
Addressing a massive rally at Mayo Road called "Sanhati Divas" (Solidarity and Integrity Day), a fiery Mamata said: "Religion cannot be the agenda of any government. Today intolerance has reached its peak. The divisive politics that began 25 years ago is still continuing. A certain political party indulges in communal politics. Religion cannot be the agenda of any government."
Supporting electoral reforms, she stated that there must be transparency and accountability and it should be left to the Election Commission to decide whether "taking donation ahead of an election is legal or not." She also urged the EC to look into the complaints about EVMs.
This comes when the Trinamool Congress leaders are being allegedly "harassed" and "threatened of putting behind bars using Central government agencies," despite submitting that they took the money shown in the Narada sting operation as donation ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2014.
"They either kill, ensure arrest or try to label as thieves and dacoits anyone who protests against their anti-people policies and moves," Banerjee said, adding that they (BJP) would put leaders of her party including Sudip Banerjee, Abhishek Banerjee, Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Suvendu Adhikari and Partha Chatterjee behind bars and would kill her.
"But I would like to say that they don't have the power to throttle our voice," she said.
While speaking about the arrest of Sudip Banerjee and Tapas Pal, she said: "The country cannot run like this. A leader like Sudip Banerjee was put behind bars for four months for no valid reason. He himself doesn't know his fault. Just an air-ticket was upgraded. Tapas was arrested just because he was brand ambassador of a company and this comes at the time when wife of the owner of the company is moving around freely. He is in correctional home for a year. They had also kept Madan Mitra behind bars for the same time period."
"Though they have done nothing, cases have been lodged against all, saying that they have taken Rs 1 lakh each during an election. I would like to say that the Election Commission has allowed a political party to spend up to Rs 28 lakh in an Assembly constituency and collecting donation is nothing unusual to fight an election," she said, questioning from where one would get money without taking donation to fight an election and what would one do if someone forcefully gives them donation.
"Moreover, the Election Commission has to look into its legality. They have also submitted reports (related to the election) to the Commission and the same have been cleared," she said.
"My party is the poorest of all. Despite that, at least one letter of the Income Tax department is sent to us every day. We struggle to run the party and no one can fight in the election like us by spending so less. So I have demanded for electoral reforms and have been fighting for it for the past 20 years to bring transparency in election," Banerjee said, adding that Rs 5,000 crore has been spent to buy different electronic gadgets to conduct elections as it is a plan to manipulate poll results. The money should have been used to introduce electoral reforms, she added.
The Chief Minister once again attacked the BJP government at the Centre for its political agendas, stating that "it is the duty of a government to undertake development work for the masses, instead of creating differences among people as India is a republic state."
She also mentioned the incident in which some Dalits were beaten to death in Gujarat when they went to attend a programme.
She also demanded explanation for withdrawing Jesus Christ's birthday as a national holiday and demanded that Netaji's birthday has to be observed as a National Day.
Criticising the role of a section of the media, she alleged that some TV channels were spreading lies about the Uttar Pradesh municipal polls.
She claimed that the vote share of BJP has decreased by 13 percent in UP but no one was talking about it.
Referring to farmer suicides in the country, Banerjee claimed that they are common in BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.