West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday hit out at the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, describing his last five-year term as the period of “Super Emergency” in the country. The BJP was quick to hit back with Union minister Prakash Javadekar terming the current situation in West Bengal akin to a “state of Emergency”.
Tweeting on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Emergency, which was imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975, Mamata said, “Today is the anniversary of the #Emergency declared in 1975. For the last five years, the country went through a “Super Emergency’’. We must learn our lessons from history and fight to safeguard the democratic institutions in the country.”
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Javadekar said, “The way Mamata is conducting things in West Bengal, is no less than the state of Emergency. She is doing a very bad job at running the state.” The Information Broadcasting Minister said that his party and the government are committed to safeguard democracy and will fight for West Bengal, the way his party workers did in 1975.
“The way violence is being promoted is against democracy. The BJP and this government is committed to safeguard democracy and believes in ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’. We saved the country from Emergency in 1975 and now, we will fight in West Bengal too,” he said.
Meanwhile, in her maiden speech in Parliament, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra warned that prevalent signs in the country suggest that India is moving towards fascism. Speaking during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in Lok Sabha, the Krishnanagar MP said, “Only if you would open your eyes, you would see that there are signs everywhere, that this country is being torn apart.” She said the Constitution, which each member of the House has “sworn to protect” is “under threat today”. “Of course you may disagree with me, you may say achche din are here,” she said, pointing to the Treasury benches, “but then you are missing the signs”.
Moitra pointed to seven signs to say that the country was sliding down a dangerous path. She said that the US Holocaust memorial museum put up a poster in 2017 that “contained the list of all the signs of early fascism” and stated that each of the signs she mentioned are on that list.
She urged the members to decide “which side of history do we want us to be on”. Of the seven signs, Moitra began with the “powerful and continuing nationalism that is searing into our national fabric,” which she said “is superficial”, “xenophobic” and “narrow”. The TMC leader claimed that people are being “torn out of their homes” and called illegal immigrants, even those who have lived in the country for 50 years.
Another sign, Moitra said, was the “resounding disdain for human rights that is permeating every level of government”. Mentioning the “10-fold increase” in hate crimes, she said “there are forces in this country that are sitting there pushing this number up” as the lynchings of citizens in broad daylight is being condoned.
She also spoke about “an unimaginable subjugation and controlling of mass media today”. Calling fake news “the norm”, Moitra said the recent elections were “not fought on farmer distress” or unemployment, but on WhatsApp by manipulating minds.
She also rued the intertwining of “religion and government” and cited the NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill to state that “we are making sure that it is only one community that is the target of anti-immigration laws”. Moitra said that it is not just about the 2.77 acres of Ram Janmabhoomi land, but about keeping the 80 crore acres of India together.