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Day of Dharnas in Kolkata as Mamata Set to Begin 48-hour Protest against Centre

News18 28-03-2023 Kamalika Sengupta

It will be a day of dharnas and rallies in Kolkata. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will begin a 48-hour sit-in dharna near Dr BR Ambedkar’s statue at Red Road (Indira Gandhi Sarani) on Wednesday, demanding central funds.

"I will do this (dharna) as the chief minister of Bengal to protest against this dictatorial attempt to malign the state government and deprive our state of its rightful dues," said the Trinamool Congress chairperson at Kolkata airport last week, while leaving for Bhubaneswar to meet Odisha CM and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik.

As chief minister, this is the third time that Mamata will be sitting on a dharna. On the other hand, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar will also lead a dharna to protest against the corruption in Bengal under TMC rule. Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee too will be holding a major rally for youths and students.

For the past 65 days, state government employees have been sitting about 110 metres away from the site of Abhishek’s public meeting, demanding Dearness Allowance (DA) on par with central workers. The protesters moved court, challenging Abhishek’s meeting on March 29. The court gave permission for the TMC leader’s event but said no instigation should happen from the rally.

So, in and around central Kolkata on Wednesday, there will be Mamata’s dharna, Abhishek’s rally, the state employees’ protest, and the BJP’s demonstration.

Sources in Kolkata police say that the department has made arrangements to manage all these events while ensuring there is no ‘instigation’ as ordered by the court.

Mamata has been known for her ‘dharna politics’. "From noon tomorrow, I will start a sit-in demonstration with the demand for money for ‘100 days work’, for Awas Yojana (rural housing), for rural roads, and the Aikyashree scheme. The Centre will have to answer why funds for OBCs have been stopped and why democracy is being killed," she said while inaugurating the Pathashree scheme from Singur on Tuesday.

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