The newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF) led by Abbas Siddiqui on Sunday vowed to defeat the TMC and the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections, asserting that people of West Bengal would teach Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “a lesson for her arrogance”.
Proclaiming support for the Left Front and its allies in the state, Siddiqui said Bengal will get the better of the BJP and “its B-team Mamata Banerjee” in the polls. However, in a word of caution for the Congress, with which his partys talks are in choppy waters, Siddiqui said that he is in politics to become a partner and get his rightful claims.
“Mamata and her TMC have destroyed democracy and unleashed anarchy. They will pay for it in the elections. The TMC government did nothing for the minorities and the backward communities of the state,” he said, addressing a mega joint rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata.
The ISF, floated by influential Muslim cleric of Hooghly district”s Furfura Sharif last month, is against the politics of appeasement, he said.
“We don”t want appeasement. We want our rightful claims, just like any other citizen of this country. We too have equal rights,” Siddiqui said.
The BJP often accuses the TMC of appeasing Muslims for vote bank politics.
“No one is allowed to speak in Bengal, except a few brave hearts like us. The chief minister has lost her sleep. It is our battle to free Bengal from dictatorship,” he said.
Lashing out at the TMC for allegedly betraying the minorities of the state, Siddiqui said that they will ensure that the ruling party loses its political significance after the polls.
“We won”t get swayed by false promises. We would ensure that her party becomes a zero after the assembly polls. We will fight, give our blood but will stop the BJP and the TMC in Bengal. We want the government of the grand alliance which will fight for the rights of people,” he said.
Expressing his gratitude for the West Bengal Left Front chairman Biman Bose for accommodating his fledgeling party in the grand alliance by sharing 30 seats, Siddiqui said that ISF activists and supporters will fight till the last to ensure the victory of the Left Front and its allies in various parts of the state.
However, he said, “I didn”t speak about the Congress. I am here (in politics) to be a partner, not for any kind of appeasement. I am here to get my rightful claims.”
At the rally, Siddiqui said that the Left Front has agreed to leave 30 seats for his party as part of the Left- Congress-ISF alliance, but the talks with the Congress are yet to conclude.
Senior leaders of the Left parties and the Congress also addressed the rally.
Siddiqui, who ditched All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi for the alliance with Left-Congress, has demanded a few seats in Malda and Murshidabad districts that the Congress won in 2016 assembly polls.
The ISF joining the Left-Congress alliance has given it an edge in the West Bengal election, which was being seen as a bipolar contest between the TMC and the BJP.
Siddiqui created a flutter by meeting Owaisi in early January but later joined hands with the Left Front and the Congress. In case of a close contest, the Left-Congress-ISF alliance will become a deciding factor.
The Election Commission of India had on Friday announced an eight-phase poll in West Bengal, which will commence on March 27 and conclude on April 29. Counting will be held on May 2.