Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee termed the Raj Bhavan (governor's house) as a retirement residence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and wondered why it was not being done away it.
He was speaking at a debate organised by The Telegraph where some of the other participants were actor Swara Bhasker, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, and BJP leader Shishir Bajoria.
"Why don’t you sell Raj Bhawan? Why do we need it?" asked Banerjee. "If you are thinking where the governor will stay, I am telling you on record that I will vacate my house for him."
Regarding the law and order situation in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Banerjee said it is unfortunate that it takes nearly six months for the government to take action against (former party MLA) Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who raped a minor girl.
"The incident took place in 2017 and it took several months for the BJP to act. What stopped the BJP from taking action against him when the incident happened?” he asked.
Banerjee also criticised the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre for booking mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir under stringent provisions of the Public Safety Act (PSA).
"They (BJP leaders) are talking about the PSA, 1978, of Jammu and Kashmir. They are also saying that it was introduced by the previous government and later supported by (former CM and PDP president) Mehbooba Mufti," he said. "If it was supported by Mehbooba Mufti, why did you form the government in Jammu and Kashmir with her support?"
Accusing the BJP of practising double-speak, Banerjee said, "The problem with them (BJP leaders) is if they do anything, it's 'Ramleela', and if we do anything it's 'character dheela' (loose character). Do not forget that 63% people of the country voted against the ruling government at the Centre. Who are they to teach us what is national and what is anti-national?"
Swara Bhasker, who has been vocal in her criticism against the central government, said it is waging a war on those citizens who do not agree with the ruling dispensation. "We are facing a strange situation in India, it (the government) criminalises its own people in the name of national security," she said.
Aishe Ghosh also slammed the government.
"For the British, those who fought for our independence were branded anti-nationals and today, people who speak for a better India are being labelled anti-nationals," she said. "I do not fear those who are in power, I fear the hatred being instilled in young people today."