Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s protest demanding West Bengal`s dues from the Centre for various social welfare schemes, continued overnight amid the cold, following which she went for a walk on Saturday morning. Banerjee along with her party leaders, sat on a dharna (demonstration) on Friday afternoon in front of the BR Ambedkar`s statue in the Maidan area in the heart of Kolkata.
“State ministers such as Firhad Hakim and Aroop Biswas were among those who accompanied Banerjee during the night at the site. In the morning, she went on a walk at the nearby Red Road, and also visited a basketball ground”, news wire PTI reported.
“The area was engulfed by a thick blanket of fog, and Banerjee went for the morning walk amid that along with her security personnel. Seeing a few players at a basketball ground, she stopped and spoke to them. She tried to understand the sport and the ball used in it,” said a TMC leader who accompanied her, PTI report said.
From Friday, Banerjee is protesting against the BJP-led government at the Centre claiming that, the Centre owes the state thousands of crores of rupees on account of various welfare schemes, including the MGNREGA and the PM Awas Yojana. The dharna will continue for 48 hours till Sunday, with the state`s budget session beginning on Monday.
Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said that the party assumes West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is still part of the opposition bloc INDIA and all should come together to fight the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. His statement came a day after Banerjee expressed doubt whether the Congress will secure even 40 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
Ramesh, on the sideline of Rahul Gandhi`s `Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra` in Godda, said, “We are assuming that she (Mamata Banerjee) is still part of the INDIA bloc, a group of 27 parties. Her priority, she claims, is to fight the BJP. Our priority is also to fight the BJP. I think it is better if we all come together”.
Addressing the dharna in Kolkata on Friday, Banerjee has said, “I proposed that Congress contest 300 seats (across the country where BJP is the main opposition), but they refused to heed. I doubt whether they will secure even 40 seats if they contested 300.”
(With PTI inputs)