How Other Parties Reacted To Mamata Banerjee's 'Praise' For The RSS
Sometimes she (Mamata Banerjee) cajoles Hindu fundamentalists and sometimes the Muslims to get electoral dividends, says Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Mamata Banerjee’s assertions on Wednesday (31 August) that all in the RSS were “not bad” has invited reactions from various political parties. TMC supremo had further said that there are many in RSS who “do not support BJP”.
While the statements were made as a passing remark at the state secretariat function, they did not pass down well among her critics.
The sharpest attack came from the Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who on Thursday (1 September) said that “in 2003 too, she had called RSS ‘patriots’, (and) in turn Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh had called her Durga”.
Owaisi, whose party failed to win a single seat including Muslim majority constituencies in Bengal in the last assembly elections where it positioned itself as opposed to both TMC and BJP, said sarcastically “hope TMC’s ‘Muslim faces’ praise her for her honesty and consistency”.
Responding to Owaisi's remark, TMC MP Sougata Roy said, "We don't need to prove anything to Owaisi. Mamata Banerjee has tried to say that every organisation has good and bad people."
"We don't need to prove our secular credentials to anyone after we defeated the BJP-RSS juggernaut in the last assembly polls," Roy added.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday told PTI, "This is not for the first time that she (Mamata Banerjee) has praised the RSS.”
He reiterated the 2003 instance to which Owaisi pointed, when “she had participated in a book release programme of the RSS. She had sought their support to topple the Left Front government (then).”
Chowdhury claimed Banerjee had even before expressed her gratitude to the Nagpur-based RSS, which is considered the ideological parent of the BJP.
“Sometimes she cajoles Hindu fundamentalists and sometimes the Muslims to get electoral dividends. Mamata Banerjee has been exposed again," the Congress leader told PTI.
CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty claimed that her comments vindicate the Left party's stand that she is a 'product' of the RSS.
"It is once again clear that TMC is not trustworthy in the fight against BJP," the CPI(M) leader said.
It should be noted that Banerjee had allied herself with the BJP-led NDA during late Atal Behari Vajpayee's term as PM before distancing herself from the NDA. However, even at that time, she often attacked the BJP over disinvestment and other issues.
However, her differences with the BJP have grown more and more in recent years. She often even failed to observe protocol as the CM of a state before PM Narendra Modi and even Bengal governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Reacting to her statements, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said neither the RSS nor the BJP needed a certificate from Banerjee.
"We don't need a certificate from Mamata Banerjee on who is good and who is bad. It is for the people to decide. We are not answerable to her," Ghosh said.
Whereas the RSS, whose relations with Banerjee were the topic of political speculation, chose to ignore the praise and urged her to stop the cycle of political violence in the state.
"She has said there are some good people in RSS. We would like to tell her that there can be political differences, but does that mean (political activists should involve themselves in) killing opponents,” RSS state general secretary Jishnu Basu said.
Basu claimed around 60 people had been killed in the state in post-poll violence. “She should have ensured law and order is in place. She is the CM of those who voted for her and those who voted against her,” he pointed out.
(With inputs from PTI)
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