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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Mamata calls for Modi government’s ouster, says country needs change

West Bengal chief minister says she will not allow the country to be divided and will protect minorities.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2018 18:28 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks in New Delhi on May 17, 2017. )
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaks in New Delhi on May 17, 2017. )(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called for ouster of the Narendra Modi government in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as she spoke at a Christian conclave in Delhi on Tuesday.

She cited the restive situation in Assam arising from the national register of citizens (NRC), public lynchings and atrocities against Dalits and minorities to drive home her point that “the country needs a change”.

Banerjee showered praise on the Christian community at the conclave, the first such event organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. She even defended the Missionaries of Charity in the baby-selling controversy, remarking that there were times she wondered why she was not born a Christian.

Sending across a larger message to Indian minorities, Banerjee said she and other secular leaders such as Chandrababu Naidu and HD Kumaraswamy will not allow India to be divided as long as she’s alive.

Speaking against the BJP, she asserted: “You should not divide and rule. If a person has committed a crime, why should all institutions be raided by a particular political party? Look at what’s happening in Assam. This ruling party is in Assam. It is in power there because of its voters, but now it says that the same voters don’t belong to this country,” she said, referring to the NRC row.

A little over 4 million people of the 32.9 million who applied to be included in the NRC were left out of the complete draft of the contentious document released on Monday.

Although Banerjee spoke on the topic ‘Love your neighbour’, she made it clear that she did not harbour much of that for the BJP. “I am not that liberal to love people who lynch. I am with the people. If tribals, Dalits and minorities are isolated, it may lead to civil unrest,” she said.

After Reverend Theodore Mascarenhas praised Union ministers Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh at the event, Banerjee agreed that there were exceptions in the government. “But not all of them are good. Potatoes and potato chips can’t be equal,” she said.

The BJP’s reaction to her comments is awaited.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 17:18 IST

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