KOLKATA: Describing her sit-in over the CBI’s attempt to question Kolkata Police chief as a “non-political” protest, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday said support has poured in for her from different quarters of the country.
The chief minister, who has been sitting on a dharna since 8.30pm Sunday on a makeshift dais at Metro Channel here, said she will continue her “satyagraha” till the country and its Constitution are “saved”.
Banerjee also asked his party members to ensure that the protest was peaceful.
The unprecedented development came after the CBI’s attempt to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with multi-crore chit fund scams.
The CBI team, which went to Kumar’s residence in the city’s Loudon Street area Sunday, was denied permission, bundled into police jeeps and whisked to a police station.
Welcoming support for her dharna, Banerjee said, “It’s not a political programme. But all political parties can join us in our protest.” Banerjee maintained that Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath, DMK president MK Stalin and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti were among those who called up to express solidarity to her protest.
The TMC chief Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of trying to organise a coup in the state. She also alleged that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was directing the CBI to harass political opponents, as per orders of the prime minister.
Addressing her party workers, who raised slogans against Modi near her dais, Banerjee said, “We want a peaceful demonstration. Please do not burn any effigies here.” The dias displayed a banner saying “Save the constitution, save the federal structure, save the police force, save the Indian Administrative Service and all ranks of civil service from disaster”.
The CM skipped meals and remained awake the entire night on the dais here along with some senior ministers and party members.
Criticising reports that questioned the presence of senior police officers at the demonstration, Banerjee said, “It’s a programme of the government and that’s why police officers are here.”
The TMC supremo had earlier said she would not attend the Assembly, where the state budget would be placed by Finance Minister Amit Mitra, on Monday.
Prior to that, a cabinet meeting would be held inside a makeshift room set up behind the stage.
Meanwhile, party workers hit the streets from morning in Hooghly, Howrah, Bankura, Burdwan East, Purulia, Birbhum and North 24 Parganas districts, officials said. Effigies of Modi and BJP national President Amit Shah were also burnt by them.
In Howrah and Hooghly districts, TMC activists obstructed train movement while they put up blockades on national highway in Bankura district.
Shouting slogans against the CBI, the TMC cadres vowed to continue their fight till the Narendra Modi government is defeated in the next Lok Sabha polls.
Banerjee had also directed party leaders to organise protest marches across the state on Monday between 2 pm and 4 pm without inconveniencing the people.
In a tweet, the CM had earlier asserted that the Kolkata Police Commissioner “was among the best in the world and that his integrity, bravery and honesty are unquestioned”.