Kolkata: Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the Left Front, Congress and her party should join hands to fight the growing influence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal.
Speaking at the Assembly, Banerjee said, “I have apprehensions that the BJP would change the Constitution of India. I think all of us, including the Left and Congress, should join hands to combat the BJP.”
Earlier, on several occasions the Trinamool Congress supremo had laid stressed on an alliance with the Left and Congress at the national level, but for the first time, she openly sought to join hands with her once-arch rivals to defeat the bigger enemy at home.
Sensing that Congress leaders may raise the issue that why the TMC was silent over the Rafael deal, Banerjee said, “I preferred to remain silent (though she had raised the issue in some of the public meetings before the Lok Sabha election) on Rafale because I did not have the documents with me. This does not mean that I opposed the Congress.”
Regarding the issue of corruption and the ongoing crisis within her party over ‘cut money’ (bribe), the chief minister said, “I agree with Partha Chatterjee (state education minister) that 0.9 per cent TMC politicians may be corrupt, but it is also a fact that the number of honest politicians in Bengal are higher than any other state in India.”
“We have Lokayukta here. If you have any complaint, please go to the Lokayukta. So far, we have received 6,741 complaints and investigation is on,” she said when the Opposition raised slogans over ‘cut money’.
Later, Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra, said, “We are not here to run after her statements and suggestions. Her statement in the Assembly has no meaning. She said this out of her own interest. Before the Lok Sabha election, she made a statement that we are with the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Later, she said that we have become a ‘sign board’ (lost relevance) in Bengal. Now, why does she want to join hands with the ‘sign board? She should speak clearly what exactly she means with her statement.”
CPI(M) politburo member Hannan Mollah said, “Before thinking anything on this line (on Banerjee’s call for joining hands), I think we need to strengthen our own party. She is a selfish leader. Did she speak to any Opposition leader ever in Bengal? She is doing this because she is helpless (right now). We will wait and watch before making any commitment.”