Follow Us:

Battle to save democracy, oust BJP: Mamata to intellectuals

“Civic society has a very big role to play. India loves man-power not muscle power. Unfortunately, we are facing the cruel, undemocratic, unethical attitude and being tortured by one right-wing political party, BJP. If you want to fight them, let us be united, wherever you are. Bowled them.”

Statesman News Service | Mumbai |

In an effort to galvanise opposition, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today interacted with eminent members of various fraternities in Mumbai at the YB Chavan Centre, Nariman Point.

Flanked by acclaimed screenwriter, lyricist and director Javed Akhtar, Miss Banerjee emphasised the ideals of democracy and secularism with the example of West Bengal.

During her address, she mentioned how her government has been running various welfare schemes in education, health, art and culture, and even bolstering businesses to generate jobs.

Akhtar also pointed out to the gathering that Miss Banerjee is not only a distinguished political figure but also a painter and poetess and thereby, she intrinsically is a part of their ilk engaged in creative activities.

The gathering included editors of prominent newspapers, actors, writers, directors and activists like Medha Patkar.

“I don’t want to give a lengthy speech as is the politician’s habit. I enjoy interacting with the people and work more with less speeches. Mumbai is the financial capital and Bengal is the cultural capital where we undertake various cultural programmes. We support the rural artisans and give them pension.

We give free ration to everyone, free health in hospitals, free medicines and we have the Swasthya Sathi scheme for treatment in private hospitals. For Kanyashree, we have been awarded by the United Nations. To empower women, we have launched Lakshmi Bhandar. We give farmers insurance, pension and ex-gratia if they die. In MSME we are at the top,” she said during her opening address.

In the maximum city, Miss Banerjee exalted Bengal as cosmopolitan “where people from different parts of the country and the world reside in harmony.”  Unity is our main strength, she added.

“You ignited hope in darkness. So, you’re the face of hope for us,” stated famous film director and screenplay writer Mahesh Bhatt, who had also been a guest in the Kolkata International Film Festival.

Bhatt asked how Miss Banerjee would protect the liberal society from the right-wing goons who, after her resounding victory, still seem insurmountable to which she said, “Civic society has a very big role to play. India loves man-power not muscle power. Unfortunately, we are facing the cruel, undemocratic, unethical attitude and being tortured by one right-wing political party, BJP. If you want to fight them, let us be united, wherever you are. Bowled them.”

Eminent author and columnist Shobhaa De touched the kernel and asked Miss Banerjee, “Who according to you will be the next Prime Minister?”

She said, “The battle is not about who will be the next Prime Minister. The battle is to save democracy; wash out BJP politically and then we’ll decide the next PM”.

Regarding UAPA, she said that the law exists to protect the country’s internal security and not for civic society or common people. Pointing out Chhatradhar Mahato’s case, she said, “I had released him from jail but now there is a case against him by the Jharkhand government. I gave his son a job. There is no one to look after his family. When Sanjay Dutt was booked under TADA, I resigned protesting it and finally, it was withdrawn. I assure you that if I come to power there’ll be no drastic step against the common people,” she said responding to a question from Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar.