No place for vendetta politics in democracy: Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Chairperson Ms Mamata Banerjee today challenged the Opposition, including BJP, to fight politically instead of relying on canards and smear campaign. She was addressing a public meeting at Beleghata where she asked people to vote for development, peace and prosperity.

Paid media

Didi targeted a section of the media for always portraying Trinamool in bad light. “Even if some minor altercations happen between neighbours, they blame TMC,” she said. “This is the era of paid news. Some media houses are run by BJP, some by CPM. Crores of money were spent by some parties during Lok Sabha polls to control media,” she added.

Opposition has no work

Lashing out at the Opposition, she said, “They are jealous. Those born with silver spoon in mouth say how can a woman from a humble background run a State. I have always struggled for people. I went on 26-day hunger strike for the people of Singur. This Central Government does not care for common man. People are saying ‘kya socha tha, kya ho gaya’. Why did the BJP get a drubbing in Delhi? People from all walks of society have rejected them.”

She also slammed the CPM. “There are two types of trees: one which can stand on its own and those that are dependent on others. CPM is of the second type. CPM is dependent on BJP for its survival. Congress is non-existent. CPM, Congress and BJP speak the same language, that of slander against Mamata and her party. The Opposition has no work. They only appear on TV studios to speak ill of me,” she said.

Mamata Banerjee also targeted the CPM for raising the bogey of terror while their regime had a series of incidents of violence. “The CPM which never allowed peaceful polls in Beleghata is talking about terror now. Has the CPM forgotten about Keshpur, Garhbeta? Have they forgotten about Netai, Nandigram, Bantala, Dhantala?” she demanded to know. Our slogan was “Bodla noy bodol chai” (Change not revenge). This is our courtesy not our weakness, she added.

Sale of paintings

Regarding the attack of Opposition about the sale of her paintings, she said, “They are questioning my paintings. The money from the sale of my book ‘Upolobdhi’ was donated to the families in Amta whose hands were chopped off by CPM. Who is the Opposition to decide the value of my paintings? My paintings are sold to raise money for the party. The money is used to run election campaign. Every political party submits accounts to EC and files IT returns.”

People will teach Opposition a lesson

Didi said whenever elections come, the Opposition attacks her over the paintings. This is not even an issue, she said. “People of Bengal will teach them a lesson. Those who spent thousands of crores during Lok Sabha election are now raising questions about us. Trinamool Congress is a transparent political party,” she added.

No vendetta politics

Mamata Banerjee also challenged the Opposition to fight politically. “CBI comes under the jurisdiction of PMO. ED and IT Dept are under Finance Ministry. They want to gag our voices. It is not easy. There is no place for political vendetta in democracy. We believe in peace,” she said.

Vote for development

“The Opposition will only indulge in canards. They are expert in smear campaign, propaganda and slander. We cannot stoop to that level,” said Didi. She stressed that people have witnessed development in the last five years. She highlighted Bengal’s achievements in Kanyashree scheme, Nirmal Bangla Abhiyaan, beautification of Kolkata, reduction in water-logging. She said Kolkata was the only non-planned city to witness such large-scale development.

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She highlighted the cosmopolitan culture of Bengal during her speech and asked people not to vote for BJP which wants to destroy the liberal culture of the State.

People are the pillar of democracy

“In a democracy, people are our strength. We must reach out to them without arrogance. Trinamool Congress believes in free, fair, peaceful polls. People are the pillar of strength for a democracy. People are our family, doesn’t matter what your religion or language is,” she said.

The Chairperson added, “BJP wants to pit Hindus against Muslims, Christians against Hindus. They want to create fissures between people. Tyag ka naam hai Hindu, Iman ka naam hai Mussalman. Pyar ka naam hai Isai. Sikh ka naam hai balidan. Yeh hai hamara Hindustan.”

Mamata Banerjee reiterated that people cannot be fooled with lies and they will vote for development. She added that BJP, CPM and Congress were different sides of the same coin as they only engage in slander. She also slammed a few media houses for manufacturing propaganda against TMC.

TMC cannot be targeted with CBI

The Chairperson also took on the Opposition for levelling baseless charges against her regarding chit funds. She made it clear that it was TMC-led government that arrested the owner of a chit fund company from Kashmir.

She also said that just before elections, TMC is being targeted with CBI. “This is because we fight for the rights of people,” she added. “Narendra Modi can send 500 notices to TMC if he wants. We will not budge from our stand on Land Bill,” she dared the Centre.

Sale of paintings

Regarding sales of her paintings and books she said: “They are questioning my paintings and books. Who are they to ask these details? We have filed IT returns. I don’t claim to be a professional painter. I draw on canvas whatever I feel like. If people give us even one penny from their hard-earned money, it is a big blessing for us. Proceeds from the sales of my paintings and books go to the party. I don’t take a rupee. I even pay for my tea at Nabanna.”

Electoral reforms

Mamata Banerjee also called for electoral reforms, “We are a small party. We don’t have crores of rupees like other parties to launch multi-crore ad campaign. We have demanded electoral reforms since 1995. We demand state funding of elections. There is no hide and seek. Jago Bangla did an open exhibition of my paintings. They filed an affidavit. We also donated money from the sale of paintings to charity.”