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Lenin statue toppled in Tripura, Mamata Banerjee says won’t tolerate it

Referring to the incident in Tripura’s Belonia town, Mamata Banerjee says she will not accept the demolition of statues of Marx and Lenin even though the CPI(M) may be her party’s opponents

kolkata Updated: Mar 06, 2018 20:14 IST
Tripura,Lenin Statue toppled,Belonia
A statue of Vladimir Lenin being demolished at Belonia town in south Tripura on Monday. (HT photo)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday condemned the demolition of a statue of Communist icon Vladimir Lenin by BJP supporters in Tripura , saying she will not tolerate such actions despite her Trinamool Congress party’s bitter rivalry with the CPI(M).

Lenin’s statue was toppled on Monday in Belonia town in south Tripura, about 90 km from state capital Agartala . Violence broke out in some parts of the state following BJP’s victory in assembly elections that saw the ouster of the Manik Sarkar-led CPI(M) from power after 25 years.

“I will not tolerate the demolition of Lenin’s statue. CPI(M) may be our opponents and Lenin is not my leader. But that does not mean I shall accept demolition of statues of Marx and Lenin,” said the Trinamool Congress chief in a public rally in Bankura district.

Much like the BJP in Tripura, Banerjee’s party had ended 33 years of CPI(M) rule in West Bengal in assembly elections in 2011.

The West Bengal chief minister has already started contacting leaders such as Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and DMK working president MK Stalin to explore possibilities of a front against the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“CPI(M) may be our opponents and Lenin is not my leader. But that does not mean I shall accept demolition of statues of Marx and Lenin.” —Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM

She kept up her attacks on the BJP and said the party is trying to disproportionately highlight its achievement in a state that contains fewer voters than Howrah, one of the smaller districts of Bengal.

Howrah has about 3.8 million voters, while the entire state of Tripura has 3.2,” she said.

Incidentally, her comments comes at a time when the CPI(M) is holding its three-day state conference in Kolkata, where the demand for an alliance with all ‘secular democratic forces’ including Congress against BJP is getting louder in the party ranks.

“Neither Karl Marx nor Lenin is my idol. But they are idols for some other parties and they have significance in countries such as Russia. So I cannot disregard them by demolishing their statues just as we cannot tolerate demotion of statues of Netaji or Swamiji,” she said.

She also lambasted BJP for unleashing a reign of terror in Tripura. “In a democracy power changes hands. But that does not mean that you will torture your opposition or demolish statues after capturing power,” she said.

She also drew reference to Bengal in 2011.

“CPI(M) tortured and killed many of our party workers. But we did not take up the path of revenge,” she said.

On Tuesday, she said Bengal (read Trinamool Congress) has no ambition of playing a lead role in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but catalyse the formation of a common front against the BJP.

“Our target is Lal Quila, and we will have to bring an end to this arrogant government at the Centre at any cost,” she said.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 17:33 IST