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Douse flames, don’t set country afire: Mamata Banerjee tells Amit Shah

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Kolkata, Dec 18, 2019-

Assailing Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his comment that Aadhaar was not a proof of citizenship, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asked him why was it then linked to bank accounts, voter IDs and mobile phones and said it was his duty to “douse flames” rather than “set the country afire”.

“I will appeal to the home minster, please consider. You are the country’s home minster, not a BJP leader. It is not your job to set the country afire. It is your job to douse flames in the country. I appeal to you with folded hands,” the Trinamool Congress chief said at a meeting opposing the new citizenship law.

Banerjee said when Assam, Tripura, Delhi, Punjab, UP, Rajasthan are burning, “Why are you saying hogaya hogaya (CAB and NRC will be executed).”

“Why is the home minister of the country openly saying Aadhaar card will not do? Then why did you make the Aadhaar cards, spent Rs 6,000 crore on it? Is the cat out of the bag now? I want clarification from you. As a citizen of the country it is my prerogative, right to ask you,” she said at Dorina crossing in central Kolkata.

Banerjee also asked Shah why Aadhaar was linked to mobiles, bank accounts and passports.

Referring to Shah’s comment to a television channel that even PAN cards and voter IDs were not proof of citizenship, she said “Then how did you become home minister? Your government, my government are all there because the voters gave us the mandate.

“Will only badges given by the BJP have to be taken as proper (citizenship) documents?” she asked after leading a huge march from Howrah Maidan.

She urged Shah – also the BJP president – to control his party and contain the violence in the country.

“I will appeal to my home minister of the country, please control your party and control the county. You are not only a BJP leader, you are the country’s home minister. See that peace is maintained,” she said.

Banerjee also slammed minister of state for railways Suresh C. Angadi for saying has ordered the district administration to ‘shoot at sight’ if anyone tried to destroy public property.

“You are saying all should be shot dead? Is this how democracy operates?” she asked.

Ridiculing BJP’s slogan Sab ka sath, sab ka vikas (with all, development for all), she said “then why are you leaving the people’s hand? You have only done sab ka sarvanash, satyanash (doom for all)”.

Banerjee said her government was maintaining peace, but the centre has to withdraw CAA and refrain from undertaking any NRC exercise.

“If you don’t withdraw CAA, we will also see how you rule. If need be, i will tell everybody to come out on the streets with me. But in a democracy one has to be tolerant. Our job s to do things in peace,” she said.

Virtually throwing a challenge to the BJP led NDA government, she said how many people would they imprison. “How many jails will you set up? How many detention camps will you build?”

Continuing with her belligerent tone against the BJP, she asked it not to challenge her. “What will you do? Put us in jail? Dismiss our government? It is not that easy”.

With the state governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, a section of constitutional experts and her opponents saying the state government was doing an unconstitutional act by publicly saying it would not implement CAA – a law of the land a” Banerjee said the BJP government could pass the Act only because it has the majority in parliament.

“The BJP leaders want us to abide by all their diktats even if they are playing with fire. Governments will come and governments will go. But how much popular support did they get in the last Lok Sabha polls? Only 38 per cent. That means 62 per cent people were against you.

“You could pass this Act because you have majority. But remember, this is unconstitutional and undemocratic, unethical and illegal,” she said.

Banerjee also dismissed prime minister Narendra Modi and Shah’s claim that the CAA has nothing to do with Indian citizens.

“This is nonsense. This is a lollipop. CAB (as Banerjee still calls the CAA) and NRC are two sides of the same coin,” she added. (Agency)

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