Time for a united struggle against BJP: Mamata’s letter to opposition leaders (Ld, correcting second para)

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee wrote to several opposition leaders saying that the BJP wants to establish a one-party authoritarian rule in India and time has come for a united and effective struggle against its attack on democracy and Constitution.

The three-page personal letter was sent by Banerjee to non-BJP leaders, including Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK leader M.K Stalin, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, BJD leader Naveen Patnaik, YSR Congress leader Jagan Reddy, NCP leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and CPI (ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya.

In a three-page letter to Opposition leaders dated March 28, the Trinamool Congress supremo said, “I am writing this letter to you, and to several leaders of non-BJP parties, to convey my serious concerns over a series of assaults by the BJP and its government at the Centre on democracy and constitutional federalism in India.”

“The BJP wants to make it impossible for non-BJP parties to exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms. It wants to dilute the powers of the state governments and downgrade them to mere municipalities. In short, it wants to establish a one-party authoritarian rule in India,” she wrote.

She stated, “I strongly believe that the time has come for a united and effective struggle against BJP’s attacks on democracy and Constitution.”

In her letter, Banerjee, who is taking on BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram assembly constituency in the state, gave seven instances of alleged “assaults” on democracy and cooperative federalism by the BJP.

In her letter, she discussed the controversial new law that gives more powers to Delhi’s Lt Governor compared to the elected government and said that “the Lt Governor has been made the undeclared Viceroy of Delhi, acting as a proxy for the Home Minister and the Prime Minister”.

“What the BJP has done in Delhi is not an exception. It is increasingly becoming the rule,” she said.

She also pointed out how the BJP-led Centre is creating problems for elected governments in the states.

The Trinamool Congress leader also cited the examples of misuse of the office of the governor, central agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

She also said pointed out the withholding of states funds, disbanding bodies like the National Development Council and Planning Commission, using money power to topple non-BJP governments, privatisation of nation’s assets and deterioration in the relations between the states and the Centre.

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee said, “Overall, Centre-State relations between the ruling party at Centre and the opposition parties have never been as bad in the history of independent India as they are now, and the blame for this rests squarely with the Prime Minister’s authoritarian conduct.”

The ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP are engaged in a bitter war of words in the state in the run-up to the assembly polls. Polling for the 294 member assembly is scheduled in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.