'Ploy to divert attention from unemployment, economic slump'
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee launched a scathing attack at BJP on Friday, saying that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed at midnight through the backdoor in Parliament just to divert the attention of people from issues plaguing the nation like mounting unemployment and alarming economic slowdown.
She demanded immediate withdrawal of the draconian Act as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present in Parliament, did not cast his vote. "To me, it seems that he is also against this Act as he did not cast his vote and if that be so, he should withdraw it."
Banerjee was addressing a rally at Park Circus Maidan on Friday afternoon. In addition to the Trinamool leaders including Saugata Roy, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Firhad Hakim, people from the literary and cultural world including Suvaprasanna, Joy Goswami and Pratul Mukhopadhyay were also present at the meeting.
The Imams of several mosques, a Buddhist priest and representatives of the Sikh community were also there.
Banerjee said if the CAB is indeed pro-people, the saffron party should have circulated it among the members and discussed it. "But they did not circulate the Bill for discussion and passed it at night using their strength in Lok Sabha," she added.
Expressing her solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University, the Trinamool supremo said: "What is going on in the country? Police entered the campus and beat up the students. Historian Ramchandra Guha, who was carrying a picture of Mahatma Gandhi, was removed from the place brutally by the police. It is a shame."
"UP is burning, Assam is burning and the UP Chief Minister is trying to control the mob by opening fire," she said, adding: "Do not kill anyone. Kill me if you want."
"After 73 years of Independence people will have to learn nationalism from BJP. If you oppose them they will brand you as anti-national and will let loose the Central agencies on you," Banerjee said.
"BJP did not fight for Independence. Had Atalji been there he would have asked the present-day leaders to follow Rajdharma," she added.
Stating that Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians have lived together for generations in Bengal, the Trinamool supremo said: "We attend the festivals of every community and never discriminate people on the basis of religion. But now, the time has come when BJP will decide what dress to put on and what food to eat."