Can’t accept if someone says secularism is bad, democracy dangerous: Mamata

Mamata Banerjee said that if someone says that the Constitution needs to be changed, then it is to please some ideology or some vision

Published - February 18, 2024 10:28 am IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses during the budget session of the State Assembly, in Kolkata.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses during the budget session of the State Assembly, in Kolkata. | Photo Credit: ANI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asserted that she cannot accept if somebody says that secularism is bad or democracy is dangerous.

She claimed that federalism in the country has been "totally bulldozed", alleging that several states were not getting their shares of the GST collected.

"If somebody says that secularism is bad, equality is unthinkable, democracy is dangerous and federal structure is a disaster, we cannot accept it," she said.

The Chief Minister said that if someone says that the Constitution needs to be changed, then it is to please some ideology or some vision.

Speaking at The Telegraph national debate on 'This house believes India does not need a new Constitution', a video of which she shared on her Facebook page on Saturday, Ms. Banerjee questioned whether India is heading towards a presidential form of election.

Ms. Banerjee said that the spirit of the Constitution is its preamble.

The Chief Minister said that the Constitution of the country was drafted very diligently by taking care of democracy, federalism and secularism.

Ms. Banerjee said that the fine balance between fundamental rights and the country's sovereignty should not be damaged.

"If the Constitution will only be run by the agency, for the agency and of the agency, we cannot accept that," she said, adding, "Constitution is of the people, by the people and for the people".

"I don't have any right to speak. If I say strongly, tomorrow the ED (Enforcement Directorate) will come to my house," she said.

Ms. Banerjee said in a sarcastic tone that she has worked with several prime ministers from Rajiv Gandhi to Manmohan Singh, but has not seen "such a good prime minister", without taking the name of Narendra Modi.

Stating that the TMC maintains political courtesy, she said that her party respects all political parties and leaders.

Recalling that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Bengal, she said that his ideals and vision led the foundation of a strong democracy, ensuring justice, equality, freedom for all citizens.

Ms. Banerjee said that the Constitution also did the hard work of awakening unity among the diversity of culture, language, religion and community of the vast country and binds every Indian.

She said that the Constitution has also been amended for the necessity of the country.

"But nowadays, what is going on, I am afraid. It's a horrible thing which is going on. As a human being, a common person, I cannot accept it," she said.

She questioned what was the need for democracy and Constitution if "anyone tells us what to eat, wear or which language to speak in".

"We want to live in peace and everyone has a right to do that," she said.

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