Amid campaign for assembly elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi “for a united and effective struggle against the BJP’s attacks on democracy and constitution” and suggested that a meeting should be held after the assembly polls to “deliberate the issues and chart a plan of action”.
The letter has been sent to several opposition leaders including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, DMK leader MK Stalin, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, CPI (ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti.
The Trinamool Congress chief said that there is a need to present a credible alternative to the people of India.
“The BJP wants to make it impossible for non-BJP parties to exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms. It wants to dilute the power of state governments and downgrade them to mere municipalities. It wants to establish a one-party authoritarian rule in India. I strongly believe that the time has come for a united and effective struggle against BJP’s attacks on democracy and the Constitution,” she said.
“Therefore, I strongly believe that the time has come for a united and effective struggle against BJP’s attacks on democracy and the Constitution. As the chairperson of the All India Trinamool Congress, I shall work wholeheartedly with you and other like-minded political parties in this battle. We can win this battle only with unity of hearts and minds and by presenting a credible alternative to the people of India,” she added.
Mamata Banerjee alleged that the BJP government at the Centre has snatched away all powers of the democratically elected government of Delhi and vested them in the hands of centre-nominated Lt Governor through the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act.
The Trinamool Congress leader said she was writing the letter to several leaders of non-BJP parties to convey her serious concerns over a series of “assaults by the BJP and its government at the Centre on democracy and constitutional federalism in India”.
“After the conclusion of the ongoing assembly elections, I suggest that we deliberate on these issues and chart a plan of action,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee said the passage of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill by Parliament was “an extremely grave development”.
“The Lt Governor has been made the undeclared viceroy of Delhi, acting as a proxy for Home Minister and the Prime Minister,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee said that AAP under the leadership of Kejriwal defeated BJP in two consecutive assembly polls. She alleged that BJP was unwilling to accept the people’s mandate and has made the Chief Minister “subservient to the Lt Governor”.
She said the Act was “a direct attack on the federal structure of Indian Republic”, ” disempowers the people of national capital” and was in violation of Supreme Court verdict.
The TMC leader alleged that in state after state governed by non-BJP parties, the Centre “has been creating problems for the duly elected governments by misusing the office of the Governor”.
“In many states, including in West Bengal, Governors have been functioning like BJP’s office bearers, and not as neutral constitutional authorities,” the letter said.
She said the BJP has amassed “unlimited resources from questionable sources, which it is using to topple duly elected non-BJP governments and to engineer defections in non-BJP parties”.
The TMC leader also said that the Centre-State relations and also relations between the ruling party at the Centre and Opposition parties, “have never been as bad in the history of independent India as they are now and the blame for this rests squarely with the Prime Minister’s authoritarian conduct”.
She said the Modi government’s policy of “reckless and wholesale privatisation of the nation’s assets is also an attack on democracy because these assets belong to the people of India”.
She also accused the Centre of “brazenly and vindictively misusing the CBI, ED and other institutions against leaders and functionaries of non-BJP parties.
Mamata Banerjee said both in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where assembly polls are being held, “Modi government has unleashed ED to conduct raids” on functionaries of TMC and DMK.
She also accused the Centre of “deliberately withholding the transfer of funds to state governments, especially those ruled by non-BJP parties”. She alleged the BJP-led government has “disbanded National Development Council, Inter-State Council and Planning Commission and said the Niti Aayog was a “toothless think tank”.