Alleging that the BJP and the TMC were hand in glove with each other, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury sought to know why Mamata Banerjee’s TMC had joined the BJP-led NDA government after the Gujarat riots, which she alleged was engineered by the saffron party.
Both the BJP and the TMC have to be removed from power at the Centre and the state respectively to bring corruption-free governments, he said at a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground here.
“Seeing the sea of humanity here, it is evident that the people will evict Modi from Delhi and Mamata Banerjee from Bengal,” the senior CPI(M) leader said and threatened of an “inferno of resistance” if people were prevented from exercising their franchise by TMC workers in the state.
The Left Front-held anti-BJP, anti-TMC rally attracted a fairly large gathering, given the CPI(M)-led Front’s poor show in last year’s panchayat elections in the state where it had been relegated to the third position behind the BJP.
The huge ground at the heart of the city can hold a couple of lakhs of people comfortably and holding a rally there is seen as an issue of prestige by political parties.
“Last month, we had seen the opposition rally here where they called for removing the Modi government at the Centre. But it is the TMC which brought the saffron brigade to Bengal,” Yechury alleged.
“The Modi government has to be removed because the people of the country are being ruined due of its policies,” he said claiming that farmers are committing suicide and the young generation is suffering from unemployment.
He claimed that owing to GST and demonetisation, lakhs of businesses have shut down leaving scored of people jobless.
Yechury alleged that nearly Rs 15 lakh crore have been looted from banks due to non-payment of loans by “Modi’s friends” and the accused have fled the country and no action has been taken against them.
He alleged that the “loot was allowed” so that electoral bonds could be bought with the money to fund BJP.
“Ninety-five per cent of electoral bond funding has gone to the BJP – this is corruption. Where did the proceeds of Rafale scam go, it went to the BJP through electoral bonds,” he alleged.
Accusing the BJP of dividing the people of the country on religious lines and creating an atmosphere of hatred and violence, he claimed that the minorities are living in fear.
The CPI(M) general secretary said the job of a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman), which Modi claims to be of the country, is not to loot the country on one hand and sell dreams like Start Up India or Swachh Bharat, but to protect the people’s interests.
Assailing the interim budget presented by the NDA government on Friday, Yechury said the sops which have been promised are “lollipops and jumlas (false promise)”.
Terming the pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector as proposed in the interim Budget, an eyewash, he said after 30 years when they get it, the Rs 3,000 promised will be of no value.
In his address, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said representation of the Left has to be increased in Parliament to make the voice of the working people and farmers heard.
He alleged that democratic rights of the people have been snatched in the state since 2011 when the Trinamool Congress came to power and a large percentage of people have not been allowed to exercise their franchise in different elections.
Visibly pleased with the huge gathering, CPI(M) MP and Politburo member Mohammed Salim said there will a “tsunami”, if an attemp is made to stop this “flood”.
Referring to the annual financial assistance offered to farmers with small land holdings, Salim said the peasants need right price for their produce and not doles.
He claimed that there have been a series of communal incidents in Bengal during the Trinamool Congress rule, while there was never any such incident during the 34-year-long Left Front rule in the state.
Calling for defeating the BJP at the Centre, CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said there was widespread resentment over the Centre’s economic policies.
“The budget is a jumla just like the other promises made by the BJP government. The Modi government is destroying all the institutions in the country. Even Parliament doesn’t function properly,” Reddy said at the rally.
Kanhaiya Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, could not attend the rally it due to illness.
CPI(M) West Bengal secretary Suryakanta Mishra claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had invited leaders of opposition parties to the Brigade rally on January 19, with a hope that her name will be mooted by the leaders as the prime ministerial candidate but her wishes were belied.
“None of the leaders present there, however, suggested her name. Instead, upon their return to their states, the named different candidates as for the PM’s post. Her aspirations to become the prime minister is now turning out to be unfulfilled,” he said.
Ailing ex-West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee attended the rally, making a public appearance after a gap of almost three years.
Biman Bose announced Bhattacharjee’s presence in the rally but said he would hear the proceedings of the meeting from inside his car due to ill health.