Mamata calls for collective leadership, opposition unity to oust BJP regime - Eastern Mirror
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Mamata calls for collective leadership, opposition unity to oust BJP regime

By IANS Updated: Jan 19, 2019 11:18 pm
West Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee speaks during TMC mega rally ‘Brigade Samavesh’, in Kolkata on Saturday.

Kolkata, Jan. 19 (IANS/PTI): Calling for a “collective leadership” to oust the Narendra Modi regime from the Centre in the coming Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said all anti-BJP parties have to join hands for the sake of the nation.Speaking at the “United India Rally” here, Banerjee parried the question of who would become the Prime Ministerial face of the opposition, saying everyone is a leader in the proposed alliance.
“This ‘gathbandhan’ (alliance) has been formed to save the people of the nation and give them justice. Everyone has to come together for the sake of the nation. Whoever is powerful at a certain place should be allowed and strongly supported to fight there. One city or state is not important but the country is very important. That’s why collective leadership is vital,” said Banerjee, who brought the leaders of 23 anti-BJP parties on one stage at the mega rally.

“There is no need to worry about who will be the Prime Minister. We will take a collective decision on that after the election. Now there is no question of holding discussions on that. Now, we must focus on removing the BJP from power,” she said.
Taking a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for questioning the leadership of the opposition alliance, Banerjee asserted that it is the saffron outfit that has become leaderless.

“They (BJP) often question who would be the leader of the alliance. We have so many leaders working together. Your party has become leaderless… In our alliance everybody is a leader, everybody is an organiser and everybody is a worker,” she said.
She also requested Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to organise similar rallies in their respective states to further strengthen the opposition alliance.

Terming the BJP-led Central government a “fascist regime, unforeseen in the country’s history”, Banerjee said it is “systematically destroying” the legitimacy of central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and misusing the paramilitary forces for their benefit.

“We are holding the meeting here and they (Centre) have called agencies to decide how they can further heckle us. Let them do whatever they want… We respect the CBI so much but they have ruined the image of such national agencies. They are also politicising forces like the BSF, CISF and CRPF. The officers are not bad but the Centre is misusing them,” she said.
“The Centre is killing people in the name of NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam and harassing the people of entire Northeast by introducing the citizenship amendment bill. They are constantly misleading and bluffing the people of the country. There are no jobs, so what is the point of bringing new reservation bills?” she said.

Giving a state by state account, Banerjee claimed tht BJP will draw a “big zero” in Bengal and face defeat in a number of states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and the Northeast, where they had been previously victorious.
“No matter how much they try, they will get zero seats from Bengal. They will also not get anything in Bihar. They will be in trouble if Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav (BSP and SP) come together.

“Kejriwal will get all seven seats in Delhi. Even the Northeast is very annoyed with BJP over the citizenship amendment bill,” she said.
Noting that BJP has spoilt the chance given to it by the people in 2014 general elections, Banerjee said the saffron party’s promised “acche din” will never arrive until they are removed from power.

“BJP’s ‘acche din’ will never come. They were given enough chances by the people but they have spoilt those chances. They did not love anybody. If you want to keep the people happy and united, make sure BJP does not get a single vote,” she added.

Oppn. leaders form Committee to look into EVM manipulation
A four-member committee of opposition party leaders has been formed after reports of EVM manipulation by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday.

In addition to evaluating the functioning of EVMs and finding ways to stop any malpractice, the committee will suggest electoral reforms to the Election Commission before the Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee added. The announcement was made after the West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo hosted a tea party here for the top leaders of 14 opposition parties who participated in her united opposition rally.

The committee, comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Congress), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satish Mishra (Bahujan Samaj Party) and Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party) will submit its recommendations to the EC for implementation and will press for wider use of VVPAT, she said.

National Conference (NC) chairman Farooq Abdullah had called the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) “chor machine” while speaking at the rally and demanded that the ballot paper system be reinstated for the sake of transparency.
“The opposition parties should approach the Election Commission and the President of India to stop the use of the EVM and bring back the old ballot papers for the sake of transparency,” he added. Speaking after the meeting with Banerjee over tea, Abdullah said, “Time is short and hence we want election panel to carry out reforms expeditiously for the sake of democracy in the country. Our Constitution is under threat.

By IANS Updated: Jan 19, 2019 11:18:07 pm