'TMC is against violence, want peaceful polls'
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appealed to all political parties to maintain their cool during the upcoming Panchayat election and conduct it peacefully. She was speaking at an interview to a vernacular television channel on Friday evening.
"We are against any political violence and murder. Fourteen of my party workers have been killed in the pre-poll violence. I appeal to all political parties to maintain peace on the day of election," she said.
Banerjee also said she has asked the police to arrest Arabul Islam for his alleged involvement in violence. "If there is any violence, I should take action against my own man as well," she remarked.
Coming down on CPI-M and BJP, she said the parties have joined together as both of them have some common beliefs. "The Communists are against religion, while BJP flexes muscle and misinterprets religion. Both have religion as the common factor," she said, adding that the "harmads" of CPI-M have joined BJP and are trying to create trouble in different areas.
"CPI-M's harmads (patronised antisocials) are now BJP's ostads (leaders)," Banerjee said, stating that the people are observing the 'unholy alliance' between Congress, CPI-M and BJP and will not vote for them due to their lack of ideology.
Banerjee said BJP is trying to foment trouble in Jhargram, by engaging men from Jharkhand. "They are trying to do this in different parts in the state. But we are vigilant. We will not allow any communal tension or communal trouble in Bengal," she said.
Some political party has even engaged hired murderers (supari killers) and has given them money (supari) to kill her, said the Chief Minister. "My administration has informed me. The criminals have even conducted recce at my residence. The police have informed me and requested me to shift to some other place, which I refused," she said.
However, the Trinamool supremo has refused to disclose the name of the political party. She said she has made a political will, fixing the roles of the leaders who will run the administration and those who will run the party. "The show must go on. Neither am I afraid of anybody, nor am I afraid of death," she said.
Asked about her role in national politics, she said "I would like to remain a LIP (Less Important person) and not a VIP. She maintained that in Gujarat, BJP is fast losing ground. In Karnataka, there is possibility of a hung government, with both Congress and BJP doing well in the election. "Deve Gaudajis party will do well," she said.
In Chhattisgarh, there is a possibility of change. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Congress will do well. She made it clear that in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, "neither Congress nor BJP will have majority and the regional parties will do well."
"I have spoken about the Federal Front, where there will be cooperation among the parties. In Odisha, Naveen Patnaik will do well, while in Bihar, Laluji's party is expected to do well. In Tamil Nadu, DMK is likely to do well and in Telangana, KCR will do well in the polls. In UP, MP and Bihar, BJP will lose ground," she noted.
When asked whom she would support as the candidate for the Prime Minister's post, she said "it will be like a joint family."
Asked why she thinks the young generation is not interested in politics, Banerjee urged the editor of the television channel to give a slot once in three months, where she will interact with the younger generation and share her experience. "They are very talented and are well focused. But they should be told about the past and history."
Recalling her childhood days, she said "My parents could not send me to English medium schools, but taught us to respect the elders and love the juniors."
Banerjee urged people not to panic over the rotten meat debacle. "Things are in order. A committee headed by the Chief Secretary has been set up and I have instructed the police not to spare anyone involved in the racket."
She felt that the Union Home ministry should take up the issue with the Chief Ministers of different states, as many states including some foreign countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal are concerned. "It is my request to the media not to spread panic, as things are becoming normal now," she said.