Won't Tolerate Toppling of Lenin, Marx Statues: Mamata Banerjee

“In democracy, power structures change. But that does not mean that you will torture your opposition or demolish statues after coming to power."

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Left parties have found unexpected support from their arch-rival, Mamata Banerjee. A day after  Bharatiya Janata Party workers and supporters razed a statue of Lenin in Belonia town in Tripura, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said, she would not tolerate  demolition of statues of Lenin and Marx, even though CPI(M) is her party’s adversary and Lenin is “not her leader.”

Addressing a rally in Bankura district, Banerjee said, “I will not tolerate the demolition of Lenin’s statue. CPI(M) may be our opponents and Lenin is not my leader. But that does not mean I shall accept demolition of statues of Marx and Lenin,” reported the Hindustan Times. Interestingly, after the rout of the Left in 2011 assembly polls, the Trinamool Congress chief minister has projected herself and her party as the “real” Left.

“Neither Karl Marx nor Lenin is my idol. But they are idols for some other parties and they have significance in countries such as Russia. So I cannot disregard them by demolishing their statues just as we cannot tolerate demotion of statues of Netaji or Swamiji,” she said.

She said the BJP was disproportionately highlighting its success in a state with fewer voters than Howrah, one of the smaller districts in Bengal. “Howrah has about 3.8 million voters, while the entire state of Tripura has 3.2.”

Meanwhile,  a bust of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and a BJP icon, was blackened and damaged in Kolkata this morning. Kolkata police have arrested seven people, including a woman.

Accusing the BJP of unleashing a reign of terror in Tripura, Banerjee said, “In democracy, power structures change. But that does not mean that you will torture your opposition or demolish statues after coming to power. BJP is showing its true colours,” reported the Indian Express.

In a similar defeat of decades of Left rule, Banerjee’s TMC had overthrown 33 years of CPI(M) government in Bengal in 2011. Drawing a reference to this, the chief minister said, “CPI(M) tortured and killed many of our party workers. But we did not take up the path of revenge.”

Her remarks come at a time when the CPI(M) is holding its three-day state conference in Kolkata and demands have been raised for an alliance with all ‘secular democratic forces’, including Congress, against the BJP.

Banerjee said TMC had no ambition of playing a lead role in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but would help the process of forming a common front against the BJP. “Our target is Lal Quila and we will have to bring an end to this arrogant government at the Centre at any cost.”

Earlier this week, when Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao called for a national political formation with the BJP and the Congress, Banerjee reportedly extended her supported. Speaking to him on the telephone, she told Rao that she was willing to work with him to bring qualitative change in the country’s politics.

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