Mamata sits on dharna to protest against ‘stoppage’ of funds to West Bengal


KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat overnight in front of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s statue on Red Road in the heart of the city, surrounded by a cohort of TMC leaders and workers under television camera arc lights.

The chief minister who is staging a two-day-long sit-in to protest alleged discrimination by the Centre against the state, had on Wednesday in a change of stance urged all political parties in the country to unitedly fight the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha election, in a departure from an earlier decision to remain equi-distant from both the Congress and the right-wing party.

The Trinamool Congress supremo was accompanied by several party leaders, including Firhad Hakim and Aroop Biswas, at the protest.

Security measures in and around the venue were tightened keeping in mind the presence of high-profile leaders and the perceived threat perception to them, a senior officer of Kolkata Police said.

Banerjee started the sit-in demonstration from Wednesday noon protesting against the Centre’s alleged “stoppage” of funds to the state for MGNREGA and other schemes of the housing and public works departments.