After Nandigram and Assembly polls, Mamata Banerjee once again summoned her intellectual brigade, this time to drum up a protest platform against FDI in retail and other issues, the reason for which she withdrew support from the UPA government.
From singers, Tollywood actors and playwrights, pro-Mamata intellectuals showcased the protest with not only strong rhetoric but songs and recitals at Metro Channel in Esplanade. The programme under the banner Paschimbanga Ganatantrik Mancha was also a traffic stopper in the heart of the city.
“My congratulations to Mamata Banerjee for her selfless and unprecedented act of withdrawing support from the central government.
We must go nationally with the protest,” said Bibhas Chakraborty, playwright, who recited parts of his own writing named ‘Singher Garjan Mew Mew Kore (The roar of a lion like a cat).” taking a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He stated that Prime Minister had to take the anti-people step after pressure from leaders of developed countries, but never expected that Mamata will not fall in line and protest.
Film director Gautam Ghosh stated that the chief minister’s withdrawal from UPA is a historic event in national politics. “If giants like Walmart comes then not only farmers but small traders would also be hampered. It is a complex issue and the Centre’s decision in not only wrong but also undemocratic,” he said.
He also said that FDI in broadcast and aviation would spell doom for the nation and is also pose a threat to national security.
“After a long time we have gathered together to protest. We will spread the protests nationwide and ultimately force the central government to roll back the anti-people decisions,” said theatre personality Arpita Ghosh.
The speakers took on BJP, Congress and CPI(M) alike stating that the decision of FDI in retail was first taken by BJP Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayi and implemented in Bengal in a small way by the Left Front.
Apart from the usual proMamata intellectuals like Saonli Mitra, Suvaprassana and Arpita Ghosh, a large number of artistes from Bengal cinema industry and even sports were seen on stage.
However, intellectuals like Aparna Sen and Kaushik Sen were not present.