NEW DELHI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday called upon the people to effect a change in 2019 general elections for the betterment of the people.
Addressing a conference on “Love Your Neighbour” at the Capital’s Constitution Club, the Trinamool Congress supremo said: “India needs a change and that change must come in 2019 for the betterment of the world.”
Hitting out at the ruling party at the Centre without naming it, Mamata Banerjee sharply criticized the publication of the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam which has left out nearly 40 lakh people in the State who have to file their claims for proving their citizenship.
Sounding a note of caution, she said the situation developing in Assam was alarming and could envelope other States and unleash civil war in the country as the ruling party leaders were threatening to have NRC in Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan U.P, Chhattisgarh and other States.
“Only to win polls people cannot be victimised. Don’t you think people whose name is not in the list will lose a part of their identity? Please understand India-Pakistan-Bangladesh were one before partition. Whoever came from Bangladesh to India till March 1971 is an Indian citizen,’’ she said.
West Bengal Chief Minister who is on a visit here further said: “If Bengalis say Biharis cannot stay in Bengal, South Indian people say North Indians cannot stay there and North Indians say South Indians cannot stay here. What will be state of this country? Because we are together, our country is a family,’’ Mamata Banerjee said.
She said that she was surprised to see that the names of family members of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed were not on the NRC. “What else can I say? There are so many people whose names are not there. We will not allow this to happen in Bengal because we are there. Today, these people cannot vote. What will happen to children, they will not be able to go to school and get education, get health facilities.’’
Directing her criticism to the NRC in Assam, she said it is not only the Bengalis, it is the minorities, Hindus, Biharis. “More than 40 lakh people voted for the ruling party only yesterday and suddenly today they have been made refugees in their own country,’’ the West Bengal Chief Minister said.
She said the people have a right to live with dignity and respect and everybody should uphold the Constitution. She appealed to the people to love their neighbours at every level from local to district to State to the national and international levels.