Kolkata: Left parties will not attend the opposition rally convened by the TMC in Kolkata on January 19 as they share a “bitter” relationship with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said on Wednesday. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has called a “federal front” rally of opposition parties on January 19 in the West Bengal capital.
“As our relations are bitter with Mamata Banerjee and TMC in West Bengal, the Left cannot participate in that meeting,” Reddy said. “We have decided to avoid that meeting,” he said.
“If other parties want to participate, we have no objection. But as far as we are concerned, we are prepared to have some sort of a joint platform (of opposition parties) at the national level, but at the state level, in West Bengal, we cannot do it,” the CPI leader said.
Meanwhile, describing the Union cabinet’s decision to grant 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections from the general category as an “election jumla”, Reddy said the step will open a pandora’s box. He said if the government was serious, it should have convened an all-party meeting as it was an issue of national importance, and not a party one.
“Once 10 per cent is given, many upper castes will not be satisfied with this; they will demand more. Ultimately, there will be no reservation,” the CPI General Secretary claimed.
Educational and social backwardness is a criteria for reservation and not economic backwardness, as per the Constitution, he argued. Reddy said the constitutional amendment bill to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically backward section in the general category cannot be rushed through Parliament.
He added the decision was an election ‘jumla’ (gimmick) by the BJP-led government to gain electoral benefits in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.