Congress counters Mamata's Delhi rally in Kolkata
Kolkata: Countering Mamata Banerjee's rally in Delhi on Monday, the West Bengal Congress warned her not to 'misguide' the people on FDI in retail and threatened to call a bandh in the state if its entry was resisted.
"We may be forced to call a bandh in the state if the Trinamool Congress government dares to resist FDI entry in West Bengal. The chief minister should stop misguiding the people on FDI in retail," WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacharya told a rally at Hazra, close to the Trinamool Congress chief's residence.
"People of Bengal will not forgive Mamata Banerjee if she obstructs entry of FDI in retail in the state. I hope she will not make such a mistake since FDI in retail is essential to boost our national economy," Bhattacharya told party rallyists who marched from Indira Gandhi's statue on the Maidan.
"It is a wrong notion, being deliberately touted to misdirect poor farmers, retailers and traders that FDI in retail would encroach on their livelihood," the PCC chief said.
Bhattacharya demanded that the chief minister submit specific evidence about retail traders being affected by functioning of major domestic retailers.
"She has no authority to misguide the people and hurl abuses against the Congress-led UPA government," he said.
The WBPCC, he said, would call for a bigger rally shortly to project forcefully that FDI was required to boost the country's economy.
Bhattacharya and other PCC leaders, including Deepa Dasmunshi, also questioned the Trinamool Congress chief's 'closeness' with BJP and NDA leaders in opposing FDI.
In the midst of his speech, some party workers burnt an effigy of the chief minister prompting Bhattacharya to ask them not to do so.
"It is not Congress culture and you should not do it here," the PCC president said.
Deepa Dasmunshi, Banerjee's bete noire, alleged that Congress workers began to be assaulted the day the Trinamool Congress withdrew support to the UPA government.
"We ask Mamata Banerjee not to belittle Congress and consider it a weak political party," she warned.
Criticising the chief minister for mimicking the prime minister on FDI during an interview to a TV channel, Dasmunshi said "We want an answer from you why there is no investment in the state and why unemployment is mounting by leaps and bounds?"
Party MP AH Khan Chowdhury, said that there was 'maximum' FDI in China, he said "We find no logic why there is so much resistance by Trinamool Congress and others?
"FDI is essential for the economic survival of the country, particularly in the retail trade where poor farmers are affected by middlemen," he said.
Party leader Abdul Manan, alleged that the police had tried to prevent the rally at Hazra initially.
"The Trinamool Congress government sought to disallow our meeting, but later relented. This is not a good sign. Delhi police had permitted Mamata Banerjee's rally at Jantar Mantar. If such a discriminatory attitude is followed in future, Congress will be forced to take to the streets to protest," Mannan said.