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August 24, 2018

Victory of democracy: Mamata Banerjee on SC’s Panchayat verdict

Victory of democracy: Mamata Banerjee on SC’s Panchayat verdict

Dubbing the Supreme Court verdict on Bangla’s panchayat poll as a “victory of democracy and of the people”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday slammed the BJP, the Congress and the CPI(M) for “defaming” the state through false propaganda. It was a planned move by the three political parties to gain political advantage, she said.

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict, she said these parties had deliberately resorted to false propaganda. “I think it is a victory of democracy and victory of the people. I want to dedicate it to the people of the country,” Mamata Banerjee told reporters.

Highlights of her speech:

All three parties – CPI(M), Congress, BJP (we call them Jagai, Madhai, Bidai) – have spread canards and have indulged in mud-slinging over the panchayat election. We stand vindicated by Supreme Court’s decision today.

This victory in the panchayat election is the victory of the people. Where over 70% polling took place, we won the zilla parishads, where over 80% polling took place, we won all the zilla parishads.

You have to understand one thing, that panchayat election whose results depend on the number voters per booth. Some have as little as 500 or 600 or 700 voters. Just like in a club’s election, the candidates often depend on who the club’s secretary selects, for village-level elections, the candidates depend on who the villagers select.

I am in power in Bangla but I have not won a single seat in Belpahari because the local village elders there selected candidates who belonged to a local organisation.

Even in States like Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, 81% candidates won uncontested, in Uttar Pradesh the percentage was 61. A similar thing happened in Madhya Pradesh too. I have the figures. Yet nobody is speaking about those States. Only Bangla is being spoken about in the media, my State is being maligned.

There is a limit to throwing insults. Some wanted submission of nomination forms through email to be allowed, some wanted through WhatsApp. All these were disallowed by the court. If a law does not do good to the people, why should I speak for it?

Today there is dictatorship in the country. The BJP decides which house to raid, which TV channel owner’s house to raid, which reporter to put out of work. There is no end to insulting.

Even some chief minister’s residences are being raided. We are seeing many such things, things which should not take place in a democracy. Though reporters have some freedom of reporting at the local level, at the national level there is much threat and coercing.

United Nations convention says, if someone wants refuge in your country, you have to give it.

Let me tell those BJP leaders who sometimes go to the houses of Dalits to have meals, Adivasis eat meat, it is part of their culture.

Let me see the BJP go to the north-east and impose restrictions. Many Christians eat such meat, it is consumed in many other Asian countries. I don’t eat it. But that does not mean that I have the right to decide who should eat what.

What if someone comes tomorrow and tells me, why are you eating fish, why are you eating potatoes? Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose had proved that plants have life too. What you like, should you impose that on me? Every person has the right to choose. It holds true for religions and festivals too.