BJP lauds CM Mamata for anti-China stand, says she stands with Centre on national security
The Bengal chief minister, while attending the June 19 all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened to discuss the Ladakh crisis, said her government firmly stands by the Centre.Updated: Jul 01, 2020, 22:55 IST
Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may be fighting for every inch of political ground in the poll-bound state but Mamata Banerjee is drawing appreciation from the opposition for taking a strong stand against China.
The Bengal chief minister, while attending the June 19 all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened to discuss the Ladakh crisis, said her government firmly stands by the Centre.
While addressing an online rally from Delhi on June 28, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman virtually lambasted the TMC government but lauded Banerjee on one issue.
“Over the past one year, the Bengal chief minister has vehemently opposed all development schemes of the Centre. But there is one thing I want to say in her support and appreciation. When the Prime Minister called the all-party meeting on the Ladakh issue, our Didi (Banerjee) at least spoke for our country and in support of the Central government,” said Sitharaman.
The video of Sitharaman’s speech is embedded in the BJP Bengal unit’s Facebook page, the cover photo of which carries the slogan “Aar noi Mamata” in bold letters.
On Tuesday afternoon, Banerjee went a step ahead and said, “To ban some apps will not be enough. We have to give China a befitting reply. How we do it, that we have to decide.”
Interestingly, state forest minister Rajib Banerjee, who is known to be close to the chief minister, has sung in Hindi to pay homage to the 20 Indian soldiers killed in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on the night of June 15. The song, ‘Hindustan Meri Jaan’, has been made into a music video which was released on June 23. The video features images and names of the soldiers and the colonel as well as clippings of army exercises and Republic Day parades.
Two of the soldiers, Rajesh Orang and Bipul Roy were from Bengal’s Birbhum and Alipurduar districts respectively. The state government announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a government job for each family.
The Bengal BJP leadership too did not hesitate to appreciate the chief minister in public.
“We welcome the position Mamata Banerjee has taken on China. In a multi-party democracy all parties should be united on the issue of national security despite their differences on internal issues. It is a pity that the Left and Congress walk a different path. Though TMC MP Mahua Moitra tweeted against the BJP on the Ladakh issue, we appreciate that the TMC chief has taken a serious stand,” said BJP Bengal unit vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar.
Political observers feel that Banerjee has made the right decision by not following the Congress.
“This is a national crisis. All political parties, including the Congress, should stand by the Centre in the fight against Chinese aggression. When Banerjee is saying that she fully supports Narendra Modi, she is doing the right thing. The BJP is appreciating her gesture. We welcome this because all parties should forget their differences in the interest of the nation,” said Prof Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay, noted political analyst and former principal of Presidency College.
Incidentally, after the deadly terror attack on the CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 last year, the Bengal CM joined Congress and other opposition parties that questioned the extent of damage done by the Indian airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan. Two of the soldiers killed in Pulwama were from West Bengal.
The Bengal CM used Pulwama and Balakot as issues in her campaigns prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi countered it at a rally in Kolkata. “We hit there (Balakot) but it hurt people here. Kolkata’s Didi was more pained than people in Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” said Modi.
In the elections, the BJP, which had only two Lok Sabha members from Bengal, bagged 18 of the state’s 42 seats, marking the party’s highest growth in Bengal.
Asked why he did not sing in Bengali, the state’s official language, forest minister Rajib Banerjee said, “I chose Hindi to reach out to people of this country.”