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Mamata Banerjee slams BJP for weakening federal structure of India

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In the wake of BJP patriarch L.K. Advani’s comments on the emergency, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said there was a “communication gap” within the saffron party.

Participating on a live interactive session on a TV channel, Banerjee also slammed the Narendra Modi-led central government for weakening the country’s federal structure.

Commenting on the 40th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency, Advani has said that “forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger”.

“Advani ji has subsequently said his comments were misinterpreted, that is their internal matter I should not interfere. But I feel, there is a communication gap within the BJP.

“Through media reports, I came to know that Advani ji was not invited to a programme on emergency,” said Banerjee referring to a programme organised to felicitate those who fought against Emergency.

The programme was held at Delhi’s Mavalankar Hall on Thursday and attended by BJP president Amit Shah among other leaders.

“I don’t want to interfere in their internal matter but the public realise that there is a communication gap, a coordination gap,” said Banerjee.

She also accused the Modi government of weakening the federal structure of the country.

“We have our ideological difference with the BJP and it will continue. It is our constitutional obligation to coordinate with the central government and we will do that but the BJP government is unnecessarily interfering in our work and weakening the federal structure.

“The BJP government is interfering in our affairs in every field, and I feel this is not done,” said Banerjee.

She also reiterated her party’s opposition to the Land Acquisition Bill.

“We are not supporting the Land Bill, as regards supporting the GST bill, we did that because it was in our manifesto,” she said.

Banerjee also said even if the Communist Party of India-Marxist forged alliances both the BJP and the Congress, its revival was not possible.

Speculations of a possible tie up with the Congress was rife after CPI-M leader Gautam Deb said the Left Front was not in a position to defeat and needed to walk the extra mile to defeat the Banerjee regime.

“This is nothing new for the CPI-M, they have aligned with the Congress earlier as well. It was the atrocities that they perpetrated in name of communism, that led to their demise. Even if the BJP Congress and the CPI-M come together, CPI-M’s resurrection is not possible because the people have disowned them,” added Banerjee.

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
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“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
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The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
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Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)