KOLKATA: Slamming the demolition of the Lenin statue in Tripura’s Belonia, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said though the Russian revolutionary was not her leader, she was still protesting the attacks on CPM cadres, party symbols and offices in Tripura.
Speaking at a public meet at Patrasayer in Bankura district on Tuesday, she said, “Even though I have ideological differences with the CPM and Marx and Lenin are not my leaders, still I protest the destruction of the statue. This shows the BJP’s aggression and arrogance of power. I had fought against the CPM’s torture and will fight against the BJP’s torture as well. If I don’t speak up, who will? Somebody has to bell the cat.”
Recalling her 2011 victory that ended the Left’s 34-year-old rule in West Bengal, she said, “Remember, when we unseated the CPM, our slogan was ‘Bodla noy, bodol chai’ (we want change, not revenge).” Reiterating her call for the Third Front to ‘capture’ Red Fort, she said: “Bengal will not sit in the (Prime Minister’s) chair but will make others sit.”
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury condemned the violence allegedly unleashed by BJP cadres on CPM supporters in Tripura. Speaking at a press conference here on Tuesday, he said: “So far, 514 comrades have been attacked, a total of 1,539 houses of our comrades have been attacked, of which 196 have been set on fire. Some 132 party offices have been attacked, of which 62 have been gutted. In addition, 208 party offices and 90 mass organisation offices have been physically captured and occupied by RSS-BJP. Our central committee and the politburo severely condemn these attacks.”
“The undemocratic and unconstitutional demolition of Lenin’s statue in Belonia exhibits the basic character of the RSS, which in its entire existence has not expanded its influence without political violence. Even the Governor is expressing glee over the demolition, thus bringing dishonour to the constitutional post,” he added.
Hinting at the possibility of an electoral alliance with the Congress despite a resolution against it, he said: “Communal forces have to be defeated and we are ready for alliances with secular democratic forces.”
However, Yechury ruled out the possibility of any alliance with the Trinamool Congress. “On the one hand, you practise minority communalism and, on other hand, you can’t call for alliances against majority communal forces,” he said.
On Mamata speaking with southern parties, he added: “Everybody is speaking with everybody but something concrete is yet to emerge out of it.”The CPI-M and SUCI (Communist) organised separate demonstrations in the city to protest against the demolition of Lenin’s statue. However, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said: “Did the Left expect vegetarian treatment when they tortured people for so many years? They have to bear some beatings.”