Need more leaders like Gandhiji, says Mamata
Kolkata: Emphasising the need to maintain communal peace and harmony in India, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 149th birth anniversary on Tuesday, said that the leader had always stood for tolerance and showed respect to all religions.
Describing the Mahatma as a "true leader of the masses" who could take everyone along in his fight for rights, Banerjee said the country was currently going through a state of "unrest" due to rising religious intolerance.
The Chief Minister addressed a programme at Beliaghata Gandhi Bhavan where she laid the foundation stone for Mahatma Gandhi University that will be set up at Tamluk in East Midnapore. She also laid the foundation stone for the restoration work of the Gandhi Bhavan.
"Today the country is passing through a crisis period and it is in a state of unrest. Steps are needed to be taken so that unity among people remains intact and the country doesn't get divided. This is the country where people from all caste, creed and religion stay together. So it is important to ensure that the communal harmony of this country is not disturbed."
Expressing her commitment to protect the country's Federal structure, the Chief Minister maintained: "Today is the day to take oath for amity and unity. Today is the day to give a call to defeat communalism. Bengal, which stands for tolerance and civility, can never be intimidated by threat, coercion, money power or religious blindness."
Without naming anyone, she also took a dig saying that "today there are people who are posting photographs of Gandhiji on social media or delivering lectures to show that they follow his ideology and it is a fact that his ideas were not accepted by the same group of people when he was alive. How much they remember his ideals is questionable though. The Mahatma had always respected all communities."
She further added that the people of this country are "not happy". They are yet to overcome the shock of demonetisation of high-value notes and now the petrol price is Rs 91. The prices of cooking gas and diesel are also skyrocketing.
"People who love Gandhiji will take all necessary steps to ensure peace, unity and harmony of the country," she said.
India can only move forward when all communities — Dalits, Adivasis, Jains, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists — walk together, hand-in-hand, she maintained.