Mamata calls for meeting of CMs of non-BJP-ruled States to discuss 'attacks' on democratic institutions
Kolkata, March 29, 2022
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has called for a meeting of Chief Ministers of non-BJP-ruled states to discuss what she described as "direct attacks" on the country's institutional democracy by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In a letter to Chief Ministers of such states and leaders of parties in opposition to the BJP, Banerjee alleged that Central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Income Tax Department were being used to "target, harass and corner political opponents across the country for vendetta".
"I urge that every one of us come together for a meeting to deliberate on the way forward...," she said.
"The need of the hour is for all progressive forces in this country to come together and fight this oppressive force. Let us commit to the cause of a unified and principled opposition that will make way for the Government that our country deserves," she said in her letter.
Banerjee said that, during the recently concluded winter session, "Parliament bulldozed through the Delhi Special Police (Amendment) Bill 2021 as well as the CVC (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the midst of an opposition walkout."
"These laws enable the Centre to extend the tenure of the directors of the ED and CBI up to 5 years in blatant violation of a previous Supreme Court judgement," the letter said.
"We all must resist the ruling BJP's intention to misuse these Central agencies with the sole intent of suppressing opposition leaders. Central agencies are jolted to action just when elections are round the corner. It is amply clear that the BJP-ruled states get a free pass from these agencies to paint a rosy picture of their hollow governance," it said.
Banerjee said the opposition believed in transparency and accountability in governance, but they would not tolerate the "vindictive politics of the BJP that has led to a political witch-hunt".
The TMC leader said it pained her to see that the Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled States had been consistently flouting the directives of the judiciary.
"I have the highest regards for the judiciary. But at present due to certain biased political interferences, people are not getting justice which is a dangerous trend in our democracy. In our democratic system, judiciary, media and public are important pillars. If any part is disrupted, the system collapses. Time and again, the BJP is trying to attack the federal structure of this country by attempting to infuence a certain section of the judiciary. As the opposition parties, it is our constitutional responsibility to hold this government accountable for their actions, to resist the stifling of voices of dissent," she added.