Kolkata, April 27 (IANS) Sharing the stage at a public meet here, CPI-M veteran and former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday called for ousting the “undemocratic” Mamata Banerjee government to save the state.
Addressing an election rally at the Park Circus ground here, where a host of Congress and Marxist leaders were present, the duo castigated the Banerjee government over a host of issues and affirmed that the Congress-Left Front alliance will come to power.
The ailing Bhattacharjee, who was largely away from the heat and dust of the campaign, started off his speech — in his first public rally for the assembly polls — by addressing the Congress leader as “Dear Rahul Gandhi” and described the meet as “rare” in the country’s political history.
“You can very well understand the significance of this meet. Kolkata has not witnessed this before. This is rare in the country’s political history,” said Bhattacharjee who for the first time shared the stage with Congress leaders at a public meeting.
“There are many here who are Left supporters and they are many who are Congress supporters but now all have united.
“There are Left and Congress leaders on the dais. Why have we assembled? We are here because there is a grave danger before us. The Trinamool government is a terrible government. This government is destroying Bengal,” said Bhattacharjee, who along with Gandhi, was felicitated with a giant floral garland amid loud cheers and claps.
Present at the meet were state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former union minister from the Congress Deepa Dasmunshi, Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya and CPI-M leader Shatarup Ghosh among others.
At the outset, Chowdhury felicitated Bhattacharjee with an ‘uttarya’ (scarf) as the entire ground reverberated with simultaneous chants of the Communists’ “Lal Salaam” and “Congress Zindabad”.
“To save Bengal… we have to unite, and that is why we have united here,” said Bhattacharjee.
Castigating the Banerjee government for “sending the economy of the state into tatters” and “unleashing a reign of terror”, Bhattacharjee gave a call, “Drive away Mamata, save Bengal”.
During his speech, Bhattacharjee also invoked Rahul’s father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
“The Trinamool has destroyed the panchayats, we have to get active again the panchayats for which Rajiv Gandhi had then lent us support,” said Bhattacharjee.
“So long as this government exists, not a single factory will happen. Where will youth go? There is outcry in villages, farmers are not getting prices for their produce, there is anarchy everywhere. This government has to be removed,” said Bhattacharjee.
“From the media to even the judges, they (Trinamool) are terrorising everybody. Everything has been lost under their terror,” he said.
Giving the call to drive away the Trinamool and the BJP, Bhattacharjee said the Left-Congress alliance will emerge triumphant.
“We will win… the Left-Congress will win… we are on the road ahead to victory. We know how to fight; we know we can do it. We have to defeat the Trinamool and we have to defeat the BJP. There is no place for BJP in Bengal,” added the Marxist veteran.
Now an invitee to the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s policy-making body politburo, Bhattacharjee is also regarded as one of the architects of the Left Front-Congress tie-up, and was largely instrumental from behind the wings in ensuring the central committee nod for the poll understanding between the two long-time foes.
Launching a simultaneous attack on Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Banerjee, Gandhi accused the duo of being “anti-poor”.
“Modi talks about farmers but can’t hear their cries. He goes to foreign countries but cannot go to Vidarbha (Maharashtra) and other places where farmers are committing suicide. He cannot go to the drought-hit areas of the country,” said Gandhi.
Raising the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam, the Narada sting operation and the recent flyover collapse in Kolkata which claimed 26 lives, Gandhi lashed out at Banerjee.
Promising it will work for the development of Bengal, Gandhi, echoing Bhattacharjee, said the Congress-Left alliance was winning the assembly polls.
“The alliance is winning… it will win. Stand on the roads, don’t look back. Show this undemocratic Trinamool what Congress and Left workers can do,” exhorted Gandhi.