New Delhi: Nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee on Sunday (September 11, 2022) attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that even though he was a tea seller, he did nothing for the tea garden workers. Addressing a rally of tea workers in Jalpaiguri district, Banerjee said that the houses of all Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs and MLAs in West Bengal will be gheraoed if provident fund and gratuity benefits are not provided to over 3 lakh tea garden workers in the state by the end of this year.
“Though Narendra Modi was a tea seller, he did nothing for the tea garden workers. Providing PF and gratuity benefits are the responsibilities of the Centre. I ask you all to start protesting on the issue from tomorrow itself. File police complaints against tea garden owners who refuse to provide these. And if the issues are not addressed by the end of this year, then houses of BJP MLAs and MPs will be gheraoed from January,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader said.
“The Centre promised to take over seven closed tea gardens but did nothing, while the TMC government in the state ensured that all closed tea gardens become operational once again,” he said.
A strong message has been sent out from Malbazar today!
Demands of our Tea Workers won’t be overlooked.
Our leader Shri @abhishekaitc stands as guarantor for every worker’s rights.
He added that the BJP leaders are like “migratory birds”.
“They come before the elections, make big promises and fly out after the elections without fulfilling those,” Banerjee said.
Banerjee, the TMC’s national general secretary, made the remarks in a bid to wrest the tea belt of the state from the BJP, which won all the seats in the region in 2019 Lok Sabha polls and continued the streak by winning the most number of seats in last year’s assembly election.
TMC will oppose any attempt to create a separate state
Asserting that TMC will fight against all moves to divide the state, Abhishek Banerjee said he was also against terms such as ‘north Bengal’ and ‘south Bengal’.
“There are talks about carving out Coochbehar with parts of sub-Himalayan West Bengal to create a separate state or territory. We will not allow that,” he said.
There is no South or North Bengal. From Cooch Behar to Kakdwip, Darjeeling to Deganga – we are just West Bengal.
“TMC will fiercely oppose any attempt to create a separate state. Even I am opposed to casually referring to the region as north Bengal, and districts in the southern region as south Bengal. Why such terms?” he asked.
BJP ‘misusing’ ED and CBI to harass its political opponents
A day after his sister-in-law Maneka Gambhir was stopped by the ED at the Kolkata airport from flying abroad and was handed over summons to join the investigation in a money laundering case, Abhishek Banerjee hit out at the BJP and alleged that it is “misusing” ED and CBI to harass its political opponents.
“(Law minister) Moloy Ghatak’s house was raided but only Rs 14,000 in cash could be found. Why people who looted crores of rupees of public money and provided shelter by the BJP are being spared?” he asked.
On speculation of his “new Trinamool Congress”, Banerjee said he never meant that the party will get rid of old-timers.
“I meant we will continue to reflect the aspirations of people and voice their wishes. We will fix mistakes if any during the journey,” he explained.
We will gherao houses of BJP MPs and MLAs if the issue of PF and Gratuity is not resolved by 31st December – Shri @abhishekaitc.
BJP’s so-called people’s representatives have hijacked Govt. land but we won’t let them sleep peacefully at the cost of people’s suffering. pic.twitter.com/QlJPTCB5FL
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) September 11, 2022
“If anyone commits any wrong, if anyone cheats people, the party will not stand by him. Remember that TMC took action against such offenders,” he claimed.
(With inputs from PTI)