At mega rally, Left leaders call for Janhit Sarkar in Bengal

The Left Front, in alliance with the Congress and the newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF) on Sunday projected itself as a "third alternative force" in West Bengal and said a "Janhit Sarkar" (people's welfare government) is needed to usher in development in the state where an eight-phase assembly poll will begin from March 27.

Addressing a mega rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI secretary D Raja, West Bengal Left Front chairman Biman Bose and other leaders said that both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP need to be defeated in the coming election for the development of the state.

Yechury said that the Trinamool Congress has to be defeated first to stop the communal bandwagon of the RSS-BJP and claimed that the TMC might rejoin the BJP-led NDA to form the government in West Bengal in case of a hung assembly.

Terming the ongoing political tussle between the TMC and the BJP as a "mock fight", he alleged that the saffron party is using money from the PM CARES fund, set up to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, to "buy" leaders during the time of elections in Bengal.

"This grand alliance of the Left and the secular forces will fight to defeat the corrupt TMC government and the BJP in the state, will fight for a better Bengal," Yechury said.

"Our call is we want a Janhit Sarkar in Bengal for its overall development and protection of rights of the masses," he said.

Accusing the ruling TMC and the opposition BJP of dividing the people on communal lines to serve their political interests, the CPI(M)'s West Bengal secretary Surya Kanta Mishra said that the state needs a government that would work for the development of the state and won't be a "copycat" of the TMC and the BJP.

"The TMC and the BJP are two sides of the same coin. They plan to divide people on communal lines and rule. We have seen how TMC leaders are joining the BJP lock, stock and barrel.

Except for the chief minister and some other leaders, the rest have switched over to the BJP. Both the TMC and the BJP now stand unmasked. We, the Left along with the Congress, would provide an alternative to people," Mishra said.

CPI secretary D Raja said the rally of the Left, secular and democratic forces shows the determination of the people of Bengal, "the demonstration of their determination for defeating the TMC in the state and saving the country from the BJP.

Asserting the Constitution clearly said that the country is secular, Raja said, "(Union Home Minister) Amit Shah and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi are violating the spirit of the Constitution.

"Gandhi ji was assassinated by Hindu fascist forces as he had preached for unity among all religions, he said.

Stating that B R Ambedkar had warned against making India a Hindu Rashtra, Raja alleged that now Modi, Shah and RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat are out to destroy the spirit of the Constitution as their design is to make India a Hindu Rashtra."

"Modi called us andolanjibi. What did he mean? Our fight is for people., he said.

CPI (M) Politburo member Mohammed Salim said the grand alliance would give a "knock out" punch to the communal TMC and the BJP.

"We are fighting for changing the situation in Bengal, and some people are busy changing sides. Those who looted public money in chit fund scams are now switching over from one party to another. If we are voted to power, we will auction properties of corrupt leaders to return the looted money," he said.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose said while the "autocratic" TMC and the "fascist and communal" BJP are on one side, all other secular, democratic forces are on the other. This is a crucial battle."

Left-leaning intellectuals such as film directors Tarun Majumder and Kamaleswar Mukherjee, actors Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Srilekha Mitra and music composer Debojyoti Mishra attended the rally while actor Badshah Moitra announced the names of speakers along with Bose.

The ruling TMC and the opposition BJP slammed the Left parties accusing them of surrendering before a "communal force" like the ISF, floated by Abbas Siddiqui, an influential Muslim cleric of Hooghly district's Furfura Sharif last month.

"The Congress and the CPI(M) don't have much following at present in Bengal in terms of votes. And now they are relying on a crutch to get back on their feet," TMC leader and minister Firhad Hakim said, apparently referring to the ISF.

"None of the entities present at today's Brigade meeting will be able to make any impact in the polls. They have no support base. The CPI(M) and the Congress lost their relevance in Bengal long back," BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel