September 10, 2018
Protest march by Trinamool Congress over Centre’s anti-people policies
A massive protest march was organised by the Trinamool Congress on Monday against the anti-people policies and price rise being resorted to by the Central government. The march wound its way from Moulali crossing to the Dorina crossing in Dharmatala. Rallies and meetings were held simultaneously in all the districts on these issues.
The other opposition parties had called a Bharat Bandh today on these issues. But Trinamool now does not believe in agitations that disrupt work culture. Hence, though it has supported the issues for which the bandh was called, it has not participated in it.
Excerpts from Abhishek Bandopadhyay’s speech:
- Of the 28 states, some are ruled by the Congress, some others by regional parties. But most of the states are ruled by the BJP. However, other than Bengal, what happened in these we will get to know at the end of the day. Under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, people in Kolkata and the districts have shunned the bandh but have come out for the protest march.
- We are against the bandh culture. Over 80 lakh mandays were lost during the CPI(M) regime. In the last seven years under Trinamool, this number has come down to zero.
- Trinamool was the first party to hit the streets to protest against the hike in petrol and diesel prices. Trinamool Yuva Congress and Trinamool Chhatra Parishad had organised the protests. About two months back, we had held meetings in north and south Kolkata, and a rally was held from Jadavpur to Hazra.
- The anti-people government at Centre, led by Narendra Modi, cares less about the interests of the people, and more about filling their pockets. They had been brought to power by the people in 2014
- The PM had sought 50 days time. The masses of the country, those who toil everyday in cities and in the fields, had given 1,500 days’ time to the BJP govt. But the end result was that even today, there was a 22 paise increase in petrol, taking it to almost Rs 85 a litre. Diesel is now almost Rs 74 a litre, and the dollar has become costlier. There is a competition on as to which will reach 100 first. This is the situation of the country now, and this is what we are fighting against.
- Mamata Banerjee had started protests against the hikes one and a half months back. At that time, the other opposition parties which are calling bandhs today, had no clue about what to do. If there is any party that has consistently voiced protest against anti-people policies of the centre, it has been the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee. About this, there can be no doubt.
- We had earlier said that if the fuel hike was not withdrawn, then we would scale up our protests. We had organised a a six-hour sit-in protest at the foot of Gandhi Ji’s statue on Mayo Road, after which we had gone back to our respective homes on foot, without taking any form of transport. But the Centre has still not taken any step to mitigate the problems faced by the common people of the country. We have to continue our protests for their sake.
- They want to divert the attention of the people with politics of polarisation. They think they can fool the people and come back to power in 2019. But money does not grow on trees. People have to toil hard to earn their money. People will not vote for you in 2019. This is our resolve today.
- Other political parties are afraid, terrorised. They can be silenced by intimidation tactics, but Trinamool cannot be stopped. We will continue our protests.
- Partha Chatterjee had announced that protests will be held across the State on the issue of fuel price hike. All the district units are following the directions of our leader Mamata Banerjee. Our protests will continue.
- Narendra Modi had said, if he comes to power, 2 crore jobs will be created. Where are the jobs? They cannot be found, even if searched with a microscope. They said they will build rural roads, price of dollar will come down to 30. They promised schools and colleges. But they did not give any funds to Bengal.
- The high tide of development in Bengal continues unabated. From health to education and industry – Bengal is marching ahead in every sphere.
- They are asking why States are not reducing the taxes on fuel. In the last four years, Bengal has not hiked the state taxes, but central excise has been increased nine times.
- The price of petrol in international market in 2014 was 120 dollars and now it is 70 dollars. By that rate, we should get petrol at Rs 40 in Kolkata. But people are paying more than Rs 80. Where is the rest of the money going? Centre has to answer.
- India supplies petrol and diesel at cheap rates to other countries. And people are paying more than Rs 80. This cannot be allowed to continue. We will organise bigger protests in future on this issue, even go to Delhi in protest. We cannot be silenced by intimidation tactics.
- Congress has called a bandh today, and CPI(M) supported them. But the number of vehicles on the road today are more than that of normal days. People have foiled the bandh. They do not support destructive politics.
- Just like you have foiled the bandh today, you have to uproot the anti-people government from Centre. We need a government at Centre that will work for the interests of the people, farmers, daily wagers, labourers, youths. They have to take the interests of all the State into account. That is why we have to work together, unitedly, follow the directions of Mamata Banerjee and work towards changing the government at the Centre.
- We could have organised this protest at 5 PM. But that is the time when people go back to their home from office. We do not want to cause any inconvenience to the people. We will lay down our lives but we will never take any action that will harm the interests of the people. This is the ideology Mamata Banerjee has taught us. We are following her footsteps.
- Irrespective of their political ideology, people have rejected the bandh today. Because they know the Opposition parties in Bengal are against development, they are anti-Bengal, they are against secularism. They want to polarise Bengal on religious lines. That is their main aim.
- I am ready to lay down my life. But I won’t allow Bengal to be destabilised.