Countering Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee’s protests in New Delhi against the Centre’s decisions on economic reforms, the West Bengal Congress on Monday took the fight to her neighbourhood by organising a procession in support of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

The State Congress also threatened to call a State-wide bandh if the entry of FDI in multi-brand retail is not allowed. “We may be forced to call a bandh in the State if the Trinamool Congress continues to oppose FDI in multi-brand retail,” State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya told a gathering of party workers. The Trinamool Congress was misleading people on the issue and the Congress had warned it against taking such steps, he said.

“What the Communist Party of India-Marxist did by opposing computers, Ms. Banerjee is doing the same thing by opposing FDI in multi-brand retail,” he said adding that people would not forgive her for doing so.

During the demonstration, some Congress activists tried to burn effigies of Ms. Banerjee but Mr. Bhattacharya asked them to desist from such acts.

‘A political gimmick’

Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi described the Chief Minister’s opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail as a “political gimmick.” He said that not even 500 people had joined her protests at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, held during the day.

“She [Ms. Banerjee] is saying that the Congress is a party for notes. Then her protests are only for votes. When, in the previous Assembly election, she used the helicopter service to campaign against the Left Front and the Congress paid those bills why had she not said then that the Congress is a party of notes,” asked Ms. Dasmunshi. She also pointed out that there was no fresh investment in the State resulting in rising unemployment. The law and order situation had deteriorated and there were frequent incidents of rape being reported across the State.

Alleging that the State government tried to prevent the party’s rally, Congress spokesperson Abdul Mannan dared the Trinamool to make such attempts in the future.

“If the Trinamool Congress does not allow us to hold rallies in future, Congress workers will take to the streets of the city and we will see how she [Ms. Banerjee] is able to enter Writers’ Building [the State Secretariat],” he said.

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