“Where is democracy? Please save democracy”: Mamata Banerjee

Debjit Mukherjee, Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today raised concerns over what she claimed as stifling of democracy in the country and warned it could lead to a presidential form of government. She urged the Chief Justice of India to ensure the safeguard of democracy and the federal structure, though opposition parties in the state alleged that she was “indirectly pressurising the judicial system” with such statements.

Ms Banerjee was speaking in the presence of CJI Justice UU Lalit as they attended the convocation ceremony of the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) in Kolkata. Justice UU Lalit is the Chancellor of the university.

Urging the judiciary to protect people from harassment, the Bengal Chief Minister claimed that all democratic power was being seized by a certain section of the society. “Where is democracy? Please save democracy,” Ms Banerjee, who was the Chief Guest at the convocation, told the CJI.

Taking a swipe at media bias, the Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo further said: “Can they abuse anybody? Can they accuse anybody? Sir, our prestige is our izzat. Izzat loot liya, toh sab loot liya”.

Praising NUJS as “one of the most important institutions in the world” and commending the current CJI for the role played by him, Ms Banerjee added: “I must congratulate Justice UU Lalit. I don’t know if I can use this platform to say this, but in two months, he has shown what the judiciary means.”

Clarifying her point, the Bengal CM added: “I am not saying people had lost their faith in the judiciary, but nowadays the situation has gone from bad to worse. The judiciary must save the people from injustice and hear their cries. Right now, people are crying behind closed doors.”