West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit out at the Left and the Congress for boycotting the three-day closing ceremony of the State Assembly’s platinum jubilee celebrations.
Seeking “God’s forgiveness for those who do not understand that one party may come, one party may go, but democracy will continue forever,” Ms. Banerjee said: “I do not understand why some do not remember this.”
The Left and Congress legislators have boycotted the ceremony in protest against the manner in which the Trinamool Congress functioned in the House.
“I will come when it suits me and when it does not I will malign it [the House] … What is being maligned? It is the country, the State …” Ms. Banerjee told the State Assembly.
Governor M.K. Narayanan, who also participated in the celebrations, said he felt “sad” that the members of the Opposition were not present at the celebrations.
Only two non-Trinamool MLAs — one from the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and one from the Samajwadi Party — besides those belonging to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, are attending the celebrations.
While the Left Front MLAs stayed away alleging that they are not allowed to speak in the House when they want to express views on crucial issues concerning the State, the Congress MLAs have not been turning up in the House in protest against not being allowed to discuss Ms. Banerjee’s criticism of the Centre in the House last month.
Stating that political views could be expressed anytime outside the House, Ms. Banerjee called for a distinction between “political publicity” and “affairs in the Assembly.” Recalling the years her party was in the Opposition, she said Trinamool MLAs were “tortured” when the Singur movement was on. “Their wages [for attending the Assembly] were deducted, privilege [motions] was brought against them and even moves were made to cancel their membership of the House,” the Chief Minister alleged. “We do not want that … what we want is good sense must prevail.”.
“Democracy is not a place to show rigidity not a place to show ego,” Ms. Banerjee said, pointing out that discussion should always be constructive not destructive. She lauded the efforts of the State Assembly for passing important legislation after her government took over, observing that “excellent work has been done by members of the Assembly.”