Kolkata, May 21 (IANS) Observing that the Left Front has become “irrelevant in West Bengal owing to its anti-people policies, JNU student Umar Khalid on Saturday said the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress was no different from the communists.
Participating in a cultural protest here against “state-sponsored violence” in Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Khalid called for a massive peoples’ movement against the looting of natural resources and exploitation of workers and indigenous peoples.
“The Mamata Banerjee government which came to power with so many promises, has been no different from the Left regime which was rightly ousted from power for its anti-people policies. In the last five years it has not done anything to fulfil the people’s aspirations,” Khalid said.
The Trinamool has retained power after winning 211 of the 294 assembly seats.
He said: “The Left Front has been made irrelevant in West Bengal because of its own policies and actions. What they did in Singur and Nandigram was no different from Congress or BJP governments’ policies of corporate land grab, suppressing peoples’ movement using draconian laws.”
He also ridiculed the Marxists-led coalition for forging an electoral understanding with Congress for the assembly polls.
“Despite being out from power for five years, the Left, even now seems to have not learnt its lessons. It went with the Congress just for the sake of electoral considerations and results are there for all to see,” said Khalid about the Left Front which came down to 32 seats from 62 seats it had won in 2011 when it was ousted by the Trinamool.
The event organised by the Bastar Solidarity Network – Kolkata Chapter, witnessed protests by 100-odd BJP and ABVP workers who shouted slogans against Khalid.
Speaking on Bastar, Khalid demanded an investigation into “all custodial rapes, tortures and false encounters perpetrated by police” as well as “demilitarisation and removal of coercive state machinery apparatus” from tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Telangana.
Khalid along with Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, and Anirban Bhattacharya was earlier arrested on sedition charges for allegedly raising anti-national slogans.