The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is in Odisha for her three-day visit urged all the regional parties to unite in order to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party’s surge. “All regional parties should come together and move ahead with greater strength maintaining good relations with each other. Our effort will be to unite them,” Mamata told the reporters on Wednesday in Puri. According to the news agency PTI, the West Bengal CM is likely to discuss this issue with the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday.
“I have sought time for meeting with Naveen Patnaik. If permitted, I will meet him before leaving Odisha,” she said. Other parties have also suggested the idea in order to counter BJP and Janata Dal-United leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met the Naveen Patnaik at the funeral of former Lok Sabha speaker Rabi Ray. Nitish Kumar was accompanied by his colleague Sharad Yadav during this meet.
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Banerjee criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for creating differences between different regions. “BJP believes in divide-and-rule policy on the basis of caste, religion and language. We don’t follow that. For us, all religions are equal. Being a true Hindu and a believer of secularism, I won’t allow the BJP to spread hatred and divide people,” she said. “According to them (BJP) the Odisha government is bad, the Bengal government is bad, the Bihar government is bad and all non-BJP state governments are bad. How are you good if you go on dubbing others bad. I’m a Hindu but not the one who defames religion. While the Hindu belief talks about the ideology of moving forward and taking everyone along, the saffron party is acting against the ideology and defaming Hindutva” she said. Banerjee claimed that Hinduism was not something practised by the BJP and dubbed the BJP members as “black spot” on Hinduism.
Mamata Banerjee also met the ailing party MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, who is also an accused in Rose Valley chit fund scam. “His (Sudip) physical and mental condition is bad. He is having a heart problem, doctors told me. Doctors are also worried. Sudip da broke down. He told me how he was kept in jail. He cried. I requested the doctors to take care of him,” the Chief Minister said. However, she rejected all the charges against him calling it a conspiracy. “Since we are opposed to BJP ideologically, they are deliberately doing this. They should fight us politically,” she said.
(with input from PTI)