"We will oust BJP from India. It is our challenge," Mamata Banerjee said at the Trinamool Congress Martyrs Day rally.
Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee has announced her own "Quit India Movement" targeting the BJP, launching a blistering attack against the party today at a massive rally in Kolkata. Her Trinamool Congress, the West Bengal Chief Minister said, will launch a three-week campaign next month with the slogan "BJP Bharat Chodo" (Quit India).
"We will oust BJP from India. It is our challenge. The centre is trying to browbeat us with Sarada, Narada cases but we are not afraid of it. None of us is guilty. We will not bow our heads," she said at the Trinamool Congress Martyrs Day rally, adding, "We will launch the movement in every Lok Sabha and assembly constituency, block, city and village. I urge all my ministers, MPs, MLAs and block leaders to take part in the programme."
She has pitched her anti-BJP campaign as a freedom struggle. The Trinamool campaign will begin on August 9, the same day that the Congress had, 75 years ago, launched the Quit India Movement against the British in 1942.
Ms Banerjee said 18 opposition parties came together to field a joint candidate in Meira Kumar for the presidential election and "this platform will expand in future to defeat BJP which thinks that it will have a cakewalk in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Things will not be that easy (for BJP)," she said.
Her party, the Chief Minister said, would support all those who will fight the BJP. "Bengal will stand beside Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and all those who will oppose the BJP," she declared, accusing the centre of using central agencies like the CBI against political rivals who have criticised policies like demonetisation and the launch of the Goods and Services Tax or GST "in a hurry."
Ms Banerjee's Trinamool has been a prominent part of the effort to unite opposition parties to field joint candidates for the presidential and vice presidential elections, seen as testing the ground for an anti-BJP front in the 2019 national election when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek re-election.
The BJP has announced a Mission Bengal aimed at winning the most parliament seats from West Bengal in 2019 and then the state elections two years after that. The last set were dominated by Mamata Banerjee, whose party had won 34 of Bengal's 42 parliament seats in 2014 and then swept back to power in the state last year.
The BJP has traditionally been a non-player in the state, but party chief Amit Shah has engaged in a rigorous exercise to build the party cadre in Bengal.