Mamata calls for BJP's ouster in 2019 elections
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday went hammer and tongs at the Centre's ruling BJP, accusing it of indulging in "massive corruption" and failure on all fronts, and pledged to remove it from power in the next general elections. She also indicated her party's willingness to side with all opposition forces ready to take on the saffron outfit.
Addressing the annual Martyr's Day Trinamool rally, Banerjee spent almost the entire speech attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party, while spending only a few words in attacking the Left Front, her old adversary in the state, and kept mum on her other opponent in West Bengal - the Congress.
Banerjee said contrary to its high hopes, the next general elections in 2019 would not be a cakewalk for the BJP.
"Remember Modi Babu (Prime Minister Narendra Modi), you will not get even 30 per cent of the votes. That's what the calculation says. The people who are thinking that the 2019 election is a cake walk, and victory is in their pocket, do not know their pockets well," she said during her long speech.
Despite presidential candidate Meira Kumar - backed by 18 opposition parties - losing emphatically to BJP's Ram Nath Kovind, Banerjee termed her performance as "good". She claimed that the 35 per cent votes Kumar got would "increase in our favour" during the coming vice presidential election when two more parties - Janata Dal-United and Biju Janata Dal - are slated to join the opposition fold.
Banerjee said the opposition unity would be further expanded in the near future, and the parties would take on the BJP in their respective areas of influence in the 2019 polls, which she felt "could be pre-poned" to 2018.
She said her party would stand beside all leaders willing to join the fight against the BJP. She named Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, RJD head Lalu Prasad, Biju Janata Dal's Naveen Patnaik and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in this regard.
Banerjee announced that the Trinamool would launch a three week-long movement with the slogan "BJP quit India" from August 9-30, in which all her ministers, public representatives and party block presidents would take part. Banerjee herself would be present at the start and conclusion of the programme.
She accused the BJP of indulging in massive corruption in various states, and claimed the central agencies were completely silent on the scandals.
She also threatened to slap defamation cases worth thousands of crores if the probe into the Saradha and Narada cases by the CBI and other central agencies in her state did not proceed in a genuine way.
"In Rajasthan, there is a scam spanning thousands of crores of rupees, but where is the CBI? Are they sleeping? In Karnataka, what is the magnitude of the scams indulged in by the Reddy brothers, who are BJP's friends?"
She also referred to the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, and the Gujarat Petroleum scandal that she claimed stretched to Rs 20,000 crore.
The Trinamool chief said the BJP was trying to silence her party through the Saradha and Narada probes as "it was the most vocal in its protests".
She then threw a challenge, without naming Modi and referred to him as "Barda" (elder brother).
"We say, go ahead with Saradha and Narada, in 2019 Barda will have to go. The bardas will have to bow out from power in the country. It's a challenge," she said.
Banerjee also charged the BJP with bringing the nation's growth across sectors to a halt and derailing the economy by implementing policies like demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax.
"The BJP has looted lakhs and crores of rupees in the name of such decisions," Banerjee alleged.
"Business in several sectors has either ceased or has been severely downsized. The Indian economy has crashed," she claimed.
Banerjee attacked the BJP's foreign policy, saying the relations with all neighbouring countries had deteriorated.
Banerjee alleged that a "more than Emergency" situation now prevailed in the country, with Dalits, minorities and even Hindus not sure about protection of their rights.
Banerjee said excepting in Bengal, nobody was safe in even Delhi.
"Even (Nobel Laureate economist) Amartya Sen is not safe."
She claimed the BJP and Left were colluding against her.
"Some hooligans of BJP are running the nation and they have tied up with the Left Front and CPI-M here. The fake Ram has come here from Delhi and are joined by the Left. They are playing a got up game here," Banerjee alleged.
"The Left is also secretly voting for the BJP sometimes," she said referring to the five votes from the state that went in favour of NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election. - IANS