Monday, December 11, 2023

Idea for Delhi protest over MNREGA ‘arrears’ came from Nobo Jowar Yatra in Bengal: Abhishek Banerjee

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According to sources within the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Abhishek Banerjee, a prominent TMC leader, unveiled the idea of organizing a protest in Delhi regarding the alleged delay in the release of MNREGA funds while he was on the Nobo Jowar Yatra in West Bengal.

During this yatra, Banerjee became aware of the severe repercussions on the state’s residents resulting from the central government’s withholding of funds. He conveyed his determination to take this protest to Delhi during a meeting with party leaders, stating, “During Nobo Jowar, I got to know that people were badly affected after the central funds were blocked across the state.”

Abhishek Banerjee further revealed that there were multiple efforts to obstruct the protest, including refusals of permission and the cancellation of trains and flights. He remarked, “Time and again, permissions were denied for the protest. Trains and flights were denied or canceled.” Additionally, Abhishek Banerjee mentioned that verbal permission had been granted for the protest at Jantar Mantar, while written permission was still pending, and Section 144 had been imposed in that area.

Key TMC leaders gathered at the residence of TMC MP Sougata Roy to deliberate on the strategy for the protest scheduled for Monday. In attendance were Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Dola Sen, Babul Supriyo, and other senior TMC leaders. Sudip Bandopadhyay disclosed, “Tomorrow, we will be going to Raj Ghat to pay obeisance to Mahatma Gandhi.

We will commence our protest from there, as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), a central focus of our protest, bears symbolic significance to Gandhiji. Therefore, we are commencing the protest from that location.” He added, “In the evening, Abhishek Banerjee will hold a press conference. Following that, we will provide you with a detailed schedule for October 3.”

Upon his arrival at Delhi airport earlier in the day, Abhishek Banerjee clarified his statement, “Stop me if you can,” regarding ‘X,’ emphasizing that he was not challenging any enforcement agency. He stated, “Stop me if you can. I am not challenging any probe agency. Whatever I had to say, I have said it. I am issuing this challenge right here in Delhi.”

Regarding Union Minister Giriraj Singh, who was present in Delhi, Banerjee noted that Singh had declined to meet the TMC delegation. He expressed, “Giriraj Singh is in Delhi and is not meeting TMC representatives who are going to Delhi. Earlier, when we attempted to meet Giriraj Singh at his office, he did not receive us despite being present. This demonstrates the BJP’s indifferent attitude towards the people of West Bengal,” as he spoke to reporters before departing for Delhi.

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