KOLKATA: While accusing the BJP of running a "parallel administration" in the state during the 2019 Lok Sabha election, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the opposition parties to come together to fight against the saffron party.
"The people of the state are witnessing in Bhatpara what happens if you vote for the BJP. I feel all of us (TMC, Congress and CPI(M)) should come together in the fight against the BJP. It doesn't mean we have to join hands politically, but on common issues at the national level, we can come together," she said while speaking in the state assembly.
The Trinamool Congress supremo also accused the BJP of trying to bring in an alien culture in Bengal.
"Central government is trying to run parallel administration. From the last five years, we are fighting and we will continue to fight. We did not want post-poll violence. BJP had run parallel administration as police and all was under the Election Commission," Banerjee said.
Making her stand clear on the ''cut money'' issue, Mamata said that there was nothing wrong in disciplining party workers, adding that no one has the right to malign them without evidence.
"Whatever I had to say, I had said it at an internal meeting of party councillors. What is wrong if I try to discipline my party workers? What is wrong if I ask my party workers to ensure that there is no misuse of government schemes?," Banerjee said during her speech in the state assembly.
"Just because we are a party of the masses, it doesn't mean anyone has the right to malign us without any evidence," the Bengal Chief Minister said.
It may be recalled that protests and demonstrations have rocked various parts of the state for the past one week over people demanding that "cut money" allegedly taken by elected representatives of the ruling TMC from beneficiaries of government schemes be returned.
Bhatpara, A TMC citadel for long, has been witnessing frequent post-poll violence between the rival Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress.
The fight has intensified ever since Arjun Singh crossed over from the TMC to the BJP and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, under which Bhatpara falls.
The Chief Minister concluded by warning that strict action will be taken against those who spread fake news and try to instigate riots.
Reacting to her appeal, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said, "We don't need lessons from Mamata Banerjee on ways to fight the BJP. It is due to her policies that the BJP has gained ground in Bengal. She should first accept that it is due to her fault that the BJP has made inroads in Bengal."
CPI(M) legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty too echoed Mannan's views. Commenting on Mamata's appeal, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said her appeal to the Congress and the CPI-M is a reflection of the "fear psychosis" that has gripped the TMC.
"It only shows that the TMC and Mamata Banerjee are afraid about the growth of the BJP in Bengal. She has very well understood that she is going to lose the next assembly elections in the state,'' he said.
The BJP had recently won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state and bagged 40.5 per cent vote share - a record jump of 23 per cent from the last general elections when it had won only two seats. Assembly elections in West Bengal are due in 2021.
(With Agency inputs)