Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee said that the good governance of the last decade will ensure a third term for Mamata Banerjee.
Before West Bengal assembly elections, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O'Brien A revivalist talks to morning Tidings on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); Communal allegations against TMC; And the exodus of TMC leaders to the BJP.
Why is TMC opposing the eight-phase elections in West Bengal, given the previous elections, voting was held in seven phases?
Has any state been elected in eight phases since independence? With money trucks the party clearly prefers to contest elections in 33 days. All institutions are under the control of the BJP. Fidelity surrendered, now just careless and gearing up to please. This election is not a fight for Trinamool or Mamata Banerjee alone, it is a fight for the Constitution of India. Those following the Constitution, as it was ensured, now need to stand up and be counted.
Consider what we are up against. In 33 days, in eight phases, the ‘Tourist Gang' will bring 24 Central Ministers, six Chief Ministers, their loyal colleagues to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), ED (Directorate of Enforcement), Dhan Shakti, Government Machinery and Machinery. Plant Media to a large extent. On the other hand, what do we have? A woman who worked hard for the people of Bengal for 10 years, touched life. For three decades before her tenure as CM, she remained committed to people's issues. Who was the first person to call demonetisation a disaster? Who fought for land rights? For the farmers? For the poor?
By the way, what is UP CM Ajay Bisht? BJP is trying to divide this nation and if we do not stop them, they will rewrite the constitution.
You claim that this is an unfair fight, that TMC is ahead by the BJP in terms of artillery and money power. At the same time, your campaign manager Prashant Kishore claimed that TMC was returning to power. How do you reach such results?
The people of Bengal assure us. It is Mamata Banerjee vs ‘Tourist Gang'. That is the option. More than half a dozen candidates scrambled for the CM chair of the other side.
The BJP is clear about Bengal – they tell you that Rabindranath Tagore was born in Santiniketan; They make a garland of the wrong idol of Birsa Munda; He remembers the memory of Vidyasagar. Bengal does not want this ‘outsider'. We warmly welcome everyone to come and live and work here. You can be Sharma, Ahmed, Gupta, D'Souza, Menon or Roy. You are not ‘outsider'. ‘Outsiders' are blood donors whose sole purpose is to sell fake promises during elections. They can do anything for it, divide the society, create riots like 2002 and rewrite the idea of India.
The truth is, they do not have a response to the remarkable works of Mamata Banerjee, which touch lives. Measurable effects, not just talking in the air. Also, ask who is their CM candidate? When I last checked, Modi and Shah were not in the list of MLA candidates!
Good governance of the last decade will ensure a third term for Mamata Banerjee. Our proposal is simple – Bangla nijer maykei chai (Bengal wants her daughter).
TMC has been accused of spreading political violence in the state ahead of the elections. How do you react to the fee?
Cots. It is a completely false narrative that Modi-Shah has been making spin machines in line with his campaign for the last six months. They are feeding it to scare the media to control it. I would humbly request the real journalists to come here and report the facts from the ground up. We challenge the BJP to come and debate with us on the real issues – health, education, agriculture, employment, marginalized social schemes, economy, rising unemployment.
The Left has accused TMC of easing BJP's entry into Bengal with the entire TMC campaign designed to target the BJP, so are you not placing them on the main floor?
The Left-Congress alliance will not win half a dozen seats in Bengal. They too have formed alliances with communal forces and have a silent consensus with the BJP on the ground.
But why BJP-centric campaign?
We have a campaign – Good Governance; Life toucher; Our deep understanding of Bengal. But yes, BJP is going to be the main opposition party in Bengal. So we have to highlight them, their track record in other states. Who do you want us to attack? AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)? NCP (Nationalist Congress Party)? RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal)?
Mamta Banerjee has been heard in many public meetings asking voters not to waste votes on the Left-Congress alliance. Is TMC worried that they can play Sportsport?
We are quietly convinced. We are focused on our positive campaign. We will see Trinamool Sarkar 3.0 on 2 May. The question is not whether we will win the election, the question is how good the margin is, that is what we are playing for it.
How do you see the recent agitation by the BJP towards the Matua community?
Modi-Shah has a divisive agenda, he has no integrity. Have we forgotten that powerful and poignant picture from 2002, with tears in his eyes and pleading for his life with folded hands? That image should not be of India. I respect the posts of Prime Minister and Home Minister. But this person, no. Yes, you can get vaccinated to build confidence in people. But why surround yourself with medical personnel going to the polls from four states? Should Modi's photograph be shown to those who receive Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate? Has the Election Commission taken cognizance?
The health card of Bengal started two years before Ayushman Bharat. In Bengal, all 10 crore people get a card, whether they are Dalits or Brahmins or Hindus or Muslims or Adivasis. When the state government grants a cycle to a student, they do not check who you are. We work to bring development to all.
TMC has been accused of following the policy of appeasement. Furfura Sharif chief patron Abbas Siddiqui has said that the TMC government believes in giving rights to Muslims and not to their rights. How do you react?
Yes, TMC of course appeals. We make women, children, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, migrant workers happy. The sad part is that people need to come here, travel [to] Insider to see the truth. This tourist gang has come here to ask for votes, whereas we have been living here for 10 years.
There is an exodus of TMC leaders to the BJP. The latest to go was Dinesh Trivedi, who said that the party is no longer under the control of Mamata Banerjee and instead, a select few are running it. How do you react?
Great people talk about ideas. Good people talk about issues. Younger people talk about other people.