Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who announced days ago that she will go solo in next year’s general election, called upon the opposition today to unite and throw the BJP out of power. In one of her strongest addresses in Kolkata, Ms Banerjee, one of the opposition interlocutors in 2019, said the opposition “must unite”.
“All opposition parties should fight together and oust the BJP from the country, from the seat of power,” she said at a protest rally in Kolkata where she spoofed the BJP “washing machine” in action.
“The opposition must unite and fight successfully against the BJP, the arrogant whatsit… Get rid of the Dushshyashan and save the country. Oust the Duryodhan and save democracy, save the poor,” she said.
“In PM Modi’s New India, opposition leaders have become the prime target of the BJP. While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches. Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy,” she added.
The change in Trinamool’s stance has been radical over the week when Congress’s Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail for his remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. This, and his subsequent disqualification from parliament had been the catalyst for what has now developed into a call for opposition unity.
Earlier this week, Trinamool had attended strategy sessions led by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge in parliament, attended the party’s “black” garb protest and the dinner party at his home.
Initially, the party had indicated that it was issue-based support it was lending to the Congress. Today’s remarks from Ms Banerjee marks a sea change for the leader who had distanced herself from the opposition shows of unity over the last few years.
Today’s rally at the city centre in Kolkata comes ahead of the panchayat election that is primarily expected to be a face-off with the BJP. Ms Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee said if Rahul Gandhi can be disqualified from parliament for his remarks, the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi can be held accountable for their comments. He said he wanted party lawyers to work on it and gave them a month’s time.