Interview | Trinamool will kind Bengal authorities on May 2, says Derek O’Brien


Good governance of the final decade will guarantee a 3rd time period for Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress chief says.

Ahead of West Bengal Assembly elections, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Derek O’ Brien speaks to The Hindu on a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); the communal cost in opposition to the TMC; and the exodus of TMC leaders to the BJP.

Why is the TMC protesting in opposition to the eight phases of elections in West Bengal, contemplating the final time round, too, the polls had been held over seven phases?

Since Independence has any State election been held over eight phases? The get together with truckloads of cash clearly prefers combating the polls over 33 days. All the establishments are below the BJP’s management. Integrity surrendered, now simply supine and grovel to please. These elections are usually not a struggle for Trinamool or Mamata Banerjee alone, it is a struggle for the Constitution of India. Those who imagine within the Constitution , because it was enshrined, have to face up now and be counted.

Consider what we’re up in opposition to. In 33 days, eight phases, the ‘tourist gang’ will carry 24 Union Ministers, six Chief Ministers, their devoted allies the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), the ED (Enforcement Directorate), plus cash energy, authorities equipment, and a largely pliant media. On the opposite hand, what do we’ve? A lady who has labored laborious for the individuals of Bengal for 10 years, touching lives. For three many years earlier than her stint as CM, she has been dedicated to individuals’s points. Who was the primary to name demonetisation a catastrophe? Who fought for land rights? For farmers? For the oppressed?

By the way in which, what’s U.P. CM Ajay Bisht — sure, that’s his identify — doing campaigning in West Bengal when regulation and order is in shambles in his personal State? The BJP try to divide this nation and if we don’t cease them, they may rewrite the Constitution.

You declare that it’s an unfair battle, that the TMC is outnumbered by way of artillery and cash energy by the BJP. At the identical time, your marketing campaign supervisor Prashant Kishore has been going all out claiming that the TMC is returning to energy. How do you arrive at such conclusions?

The individuals of Bengal give us the boldness. It’s the ‘tourist gang’ versus Mamata Banerjee. That’s the selection. The different facet have half a dozen aspirants scrambling for the CM chair.

The BJP are clueless about Bengal — they let you know Rabindranath Tagore was born in Shantiniketan; they garland the incorrect statue of Birsa Munda; they desecrate the reminiscence of Vidyasagar. Bengal doesn’t need these ‘outsiders’. We warmly welcome all to come back and reside and work right here. You will be Sharma, Ahmed, Gupta, D’Souza, Menon or Roy. You are usually not an ‘outsider’. ‘Outsiders’ are the bloodsuckers whose solely goal is to promote faux guarantees throughout elections. They can do something for it, divide society, create riots like 2002, and rewrite the concept of India.

The reality is, they don’t have a solution to Mamata Banerjee’s exceptional work that’s touched lives. Measurable influence, not simply speaking within the air. Also, let me ask, who’s their CM candidate? When I final checked, Modi and Shah weren’t on the checklist of MLA candidates!

Good governance of the final decade will guarantee a 3rd time period for Mamata Banerjee. Our proposition is easy — Bangla nijier meyekei chay (Bengal desires its personal daughter).

The TMC has been accused of unleashing political violence within the State forward of the elections. How do you react to the cost?

Bunkum. This is a completely false narrative that the Modi-Shah spin machine have been constructing for the final six months to go well with their marketing campaign. They have been feeding this to the media they intimidate to manage. I might humbly urge actual journalists to come back right here and report the info from the bottom. We problem the BJP to come back and debate the true points with us — well being, training, agriculture, jobs, social schemes for the marginalised, the economic system, rising unemployment.

The Left has accused the TMC of facilitating the BJP’s entry into Bengal, with all the TMC marketing campaign designed to focus on the BJP, so aren’t you your self putting them on the prime perch?

The Left-Congress alliance won’t win half a dozen seats in Bengal. They too have tied up with communal forces and now have a tacit understanding with BJP on the bottom.

But why a BJP-centric marketing campaign?

Ours is a individuals pushed marketing campaign — good governance; touching lives; our deep understanding of Bengal. But sure, the BJP goes to be the principal Opposition get together in Bengal. So we’ve to show them, their observe file in different States. Who would you like us to assault? AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)? NCP (Nationalist Congress Party)? RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal)?

Mamata Banerjee in lots of public conferences has been heard asking voters to not waste votes on the Left-Congress alliance. Is the TMC nervous that they might play spoilsport?

We are quietly assured. We are centered on our constructive marketing campaign. We will see a Trinamool authorities on May 2. The query shouldn’t be whether or not we’ll win the election, the query is how good is the margin, that’s what we’re enjoying for.

How do you see the current overtures made by the BJP in the direction of the Matua group?

Modi-Shah run a divisive agenda. They don’t have any integrity. Have we forgotten the highly effective and poignant {photograph} from 2002, of a person pleading for his life with tears in his eyes and folded fingers? That one picture shouldn’t be what India must be. I respect the positions of Prime Minister and Home Minister. But these people, no. Yes, you may get vaccinated to instil confidence amongst individuals. But why encompass your self with medical personnel who’re from the 4 States going to elections? Must Modi’s image seem on the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates being issued to recipients? Is the Election Commission taking cognisance ?

Bengal’s Swasthya Sathi card began two years earlier than Ayushman Bharat. All 10 crore individuals in Bengal get the cardboard, regardless of whether or not they’re Dalit or Brahmin or Hindu or Muslim or Adivasi. When the State authorities gives a cycle to a pupil, they don’t examine who you might be. We work to usher in growth for all.

The TMC has been accused of being communal, of following an appeasement coverage. Furfura Sharif’s chief patron Abbas Siddiqui, amongst others, has stated that the TMC authorities believes in giving alms to Muslims and never their rights. How do you react?

Yes, in fact the TMC appeases. We appease ladies, youngsters, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, migrant staff. The unhappy half is, individuals want to come back right here, journey [to] the interiors to see the reality. This vacationer gang has come right here to ask for votes, whereas we’ve been touching lives for 10 years right here.

There has been an exodus of TMC leaders to BJP. The newest to go was Dinesh Trivedi, who stated that the get together is not below the management of Mamata Banerjee and, as a substitute, a choose few are working it. How do you react?

Great individuals speak about concepts. Good individuals speak about points. Small individuals speak about different individuals.

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