Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at BJP and the Sangh Parivar on Thursday saying that political and religious intolerance is spreading fast in the country but the soil of Bengal is not fertile for this school of politics. The Trinamool leader sharpened her attack just a day after describing the encounter of eight SIMI members in Bhopal as “politics of vendetta” and that she did not believe in “the so-called encounter theory.”
She was speaking at a public meeting in Jamboni in Midnapore district which was her first speech in Jangalmahal after she assumed power for the second time.
“Throughout the nation we are seeing an atmosphere of religious and political intolerance. The people of Bengal do not believe in this. We believe in the teachings of Ramkrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda,” she said in the 40-minute speech.
“We will not tolerate this. In Bengal we do not discriminate,” she added, making it abundantly clear that she is ready to take a lead in the opposition camp to take on the ruling party at the Centre.
While she was criticising the saffron brigade, her party MP Derek O Brien was present in the Haryana village where the last rights of ex-serviceman Ram Kishen Grewal was performed on Thursday. Senior Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, too, were present at the spot.
On Wednesday Grewal’s suicide snowballed into a major controversy in Delhi with police detaining Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Mamata Banerjee came out strongly in the social media criticising the police move to detain opposition leaders.
Mamata Banerjee also stated that she will not tolerate communal tension in Bengal (which witnessed a series of communal clashes recently) and that the government will act against those guilty.
According to sources, the Bengal chief minister has already sent out the message that she is ready to catalyse a federal front against BJP along with other regional parties. Trinamool Congress has also indicated that it is ready to stand even with Congress if need be.
Rekindling the idea of a federal front, Trinamool Congress is all set to come up with a booklet that will appeal to ‘like-minded organisations’ across the country.
The booklet the draft of which is waiting for a nod of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, will target BJP on a number of issues such as cow politics, love jihad, ghar wapsi, the Centre impinging on the federal structure of the country.
Her party MPs recently led protests against the proposed uniform civil code with Kolkata emerging as one of the theatres of opposition to the idea. It is clear this stand will attract Muslim support nationwide. The protest march was organised after the land plots were returned to farmers in SIngur that projected Mamata the champion of farmers rights in the country.
The Bengal chief minister’s plans for a national role were evident on May 27, the day when she took oath for the second time as chief minister. All the prominent faces who can be members of the so-called federal front -- Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Farooq Abdullah, Arvind Kejriwal and K Kanimozhi -- were present at the swearing in ceremony.
Later Mamata remarked that she will be happy to push the cause of a non-BJP non-Congress front.