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Opposition leaders call on Mamata Banerjee, back her protest

Standing firm: Mamata Banerjee and Rajeev Kumar, centre, at the police award ceremony in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Tensions between the Centre and the West Bengal government continued to simmer on Monday as Trinamool chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued her protest here against the attempted raids by the CBI on the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar.

Ms. Banerjee started her sit-in on Sunday evening.

Virtually all Opposition parties rallied behind Ms. Banerjee in her confrontation with the Modi government, even as the BJP called it an “alliance of the corrupt.”

A number of leaders of Opposition parties, including DMK MP Kanimozhi, met Ms. Banerjee at the protest venue on Monday night and assured her of their total support.

‘Protest till Feb. 8’

“This demonstration will continue till February 8, because the board examinations will be starting soon and we will not be playing the loudspeakers,” Ms. Banerjee said. She again targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “If we want to save the country, we have to defeat Mr. Modi.”

“We are here to say that the Opposition will stand together with Mamata Banerjee,” Ms. Kanimozhi said, after meeting the Trinamool leader.


DMK chief M.K. Stalin spoke to Ms. Banerjee in the morning and extended his support to the protest.

“We are against this fascist BJP government, which is trying to silence the Opposition and destroy the democratic fabric of this country. People won’t accept this divisiveness and communal hatred that they are spreading to stay in power,” Ms. Kanimozhi said.

‘Pre-election gift’

The Rajya Sabha member described the CBI action as a “pre-election gift” to Ms. Banerjee by the BJP.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav also paid a visit to the West Bengal Chief Minister. Mr. Yadav said he supported Ms. Banerjee’s protest and condemned the negative politics of the Narendra Modi government. “My father never compromised with the communal forces. That’s why he is in jail,” he said.

Ms. Banerjee again targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “If we want to save the country, we have to defeat Mr. Modi.” She said she would speak to leaders such as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference and Sharad Yadav of the Loktantrik Janata Dal, who were present at the Opposition rally, on how to take the campaign forward.

Among those who visited the Chief Minister was SP leader Kiranmay Nanda who had arrived at the protest venue in the morning. A number of leaders from the Opposition including Congress President Rahul Gandhi had called and expressed solidarity to Ms Banerjee on Sunday evening when she sat on protest.

Protest venue turns administrative office

Draped in the colours of the national flag, the Save India stage in Kolkata’s Metro Channel was not only a venue of protest by Ms. Banerjee but also turned out to be administrative headquarters of the West Bengal government.

While continuing with her Satyagrah outside a Kolkata Police outpost on a busy arterial road in the city Ms, Banerjee held a Cabinet meeting with over a dozen of her Ministers to approve the State Budget, addressed a gathering of farmers through video conferring and also gave medals to over hundred policemen.

Throughout the day thousands of people were present at the dharna site trying to catch a glimpse of the Chief Minister and raising slogans in her support and against the Centre.

The banner at the protest venue where the Chief Minister sat throughout the day read "Save the Constitution, Save the Federal Structure, Save the Indian Police Force, Save the Indian Administrative Service and All ranks of Civil service from Disaster”. With the day break on Monday Ms Banerjee went out for a morning walk near the protest venue but remained seated on the stage for most part of the day. She addressed the crowd and media persons gathered at the protest venue a number of times during the day assured that she would carry on with the affairs of the State from that very venue. While it is not clear that how long the protests will continue Chief Minister said that microphones can be used at the venue only till February 8 on account of State Board Examinations.

While she maintained that the protests were not political, Ms Banerjee said that BJP is trying to have a coup using the central investigation agencies. “This satyagrah is not against any against agency…. This is not an individual fight but a collective fight,” Ms Banerjee but to protect Constitutional Institutions of the country which are under attack.

Governor sent report to Centre

The day also marked prominent political developments at Kolkata’s Raj Bhawan Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi who had summoned key officials of State government over the past 24 hours sent a confidential report to the Ministry of Home Affairs. For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar held a press conference at the State BJP headquarters and targeted the Chief Minister.

“The Chief minister who never held dharna for her MPs, ministers, who were arrested , now holding dharna for an IPS officer, isn’t it interesting? Does she now try to save herself,” Mr Javadekar asked.

Meanwhile, despite the political temperatures soaring there was not major incident of violence. Trinamool Congress supporters blocked a few suburban railway networks in the morning. The BJP alleged that miscreants attacked their party office in Bhawanipur.

A political firestorm raged Monday as Mamata Banerjee's sit-in protest against CBI's bid to question Kolkata police chief in chit fund scam cases entered the second day, with the West Bengal Chief Minister declaring her agitation to save the "Constitution and country" will go on and she was ready to face the consequences.

Virtually all opposition parties rallied behind Banerjee's direct confrontation with the Modi government, even as the BJP called it an "alliance of corrupt" and Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that developments in West Bengal were indicative of a "breakdown of the Constitution".

Trinamool workers took to streets burning effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah and blocked trains, while the BJP lined up its top leaders to step up the counter-offensive against Banerjee and other opposition leaders.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 4:38:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/opposition-leaders-call-on-mamata-banerjee-back-her-protest/article26178731.ece

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