Mamata accuses BJP government of resorting to religion, caste-based politics
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday used the occasion of the unveiling of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue in Gujarat to hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the nationalist leader never wanted to divide people, but always worked for their unity.
Modi unveiled a 182-metre-tall statue of Patel, considered to be the tallest in the world, at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat Wednesday to mark the 143rd birth anniversary of the first home minister of Independent India.
"Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel never indulged either in caste politics or politics based on religion. The great leader never wanted to divide the people, rather he always worked for their unity," Banerjee said.
"Sardar Patel also asked all leaders to look upon all the people equally, without any discrimination," she said while accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of dividing people on the basis of religion and caste, instead of working for their welfare.
"On Sardar Patel's birthday, we hope the country remains united," the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief said.
Blaming the BJP-led governments in Assam and at the Centre for leaving out the names of 40 lakh people from the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), she alleged that the saffron party was practising a similar "politics of discrimination" in different parts of the country.
"In Assam, they (BJP) are trying to drive out 40 lakh people, including Bengalis, by omitting their names from the NRC draft," Banerjee, a strident critic of the BJP, said.
She had hit out at the Centre on Tuesday too at Coochbehar by drawing parallels between the NRC exercise in Assam and the exodus of Bihari migrants from Gujarat.
Banerjee had alleged that both the BJP-ruled states were trying to divide people on the basis of caste, creed, race and religion.
Addressing a public gathering after an administrative meeting here, Banerjee Wednesday said an all-round development of north Bengal was her government's priority for bringing the region into the mainstream.
She said infrastructure development in the region would bolster trade and help promote cultural exchanges with neighbouring Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
The chief minister inaugurated or laid the foundations stones for different projects Wednesday.
(With inputs from agencies.)