Mamata to stay away from opposition meet called by Cong

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Kolkata, Jan 9 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she would stay away from the January 13 meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, to chalk out a joint strategy on the anti-new citizenship law (CAA) and the police brutality against students.
Banerjee said her decision was a protest against the violence unleashed by the Congress and the Left parties in the state during Wednesday’s general strike.
Police vehicles were torched in Malda district, buses and motor-bikes damaged, and highways, crucial road junctions and railway tracks blockaded in the state during the nationwide one-day general strike called by 10 central trade unions including those affiliated to the Congress and the Left parties.
Accusing the Congress and the state’s Left spearhead CPI-M of playing “dirty politics”, Banerjee said she would continue her protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) alone.
“I won’t attend the meeting convened by Sonia Gandhi on January 13 as a protest against the Congress-Left hooliganism during Wednesday’s strike,” Banerjee said at the state Assembly.
“I’ll continue my fight against the CAA, NRC, NPR, but I don’t support violent protests and strikes,” she said.
She alleged that the Congress and Left had “dual standards” and were trying to damage the state’s economy by resorting to strikes.
“It is a cheap politics. We won’t tolerate their double standards,” said the Trinamool Congress chief.
Another opposition member Bahujan Samaj Party may also not attend the meet due to its differences with the Congress, sources said.
While Congress is trying to rope in its newest ally Shiv Sena which has 18 members in the Lok Sabha, there is no confirmation from the Sena’s side.
Congress sources said that they want a collective opposition against the CAA and police brutality against the students.
Ahead of the opposition meet the Congress Working Committee meeting is scheduled on Saturday to discuss the violence in JNU and the countrywide unrest.
Party sources said that the CWC may pass a resolution to boycott the Citizenship Act in all Congress-ruled states as the party has upped its ante on the NPR on the additional columns in it.
The party has also sent a fact-finding team to the JNU to find out the reason for violence the committee will give its report ahead of the working committee meeting which is likely to be discussed in the meeting.
Amid protests across the country, opposition parties will meet at Parliament annexe in New Delhi at 2 p.m. on January 13.
The Congress has sent invite to all like-minded parties to come together at a common platform.

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