Opposition Left parties and Congress on Monday criticised the BJP leadership after Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s reported comments to extend the base of the saffron party in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The opposition parties said that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s plan and target to expand its base in Nepal and Sri Lanka are against India’s foreign policies and these cannot be done as the two countries are sovereign nations.
Deb while addressing a party meeting here on Saturday reportedly quoted Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and said: “When Home Minister was the BJP’s National President he during a meeting with us in Agartala had said that we have extended our base across India. Now we have to go to Sri Lanka and Nepal.”
The Chief Minister said that the BJP would form government in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the party would remain in power in Tripura for 30 years as the CPI-M would be finished in the next assembly elections in 2023.
“The BJP is the largest party in India now. It has maximum numbers of MPs, MLAs and other elected members,” Deb said. The BJP, however, also supported the Chief Minister’s views. Party spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that not only Sri Lanka and Nepal, the BJP’s philosophy is being extended in many Asian and African countries.
“Our targets and plans are not to form governments in those states. Our “Pracharaks” (functionaries) are broadening BJP’s philosophy and belief in those states. If the people of those countries accept our principles and viewpoints then the future course of action would be shaped,” Bhattacharjee told the media on Monday.
Sharply criticising the Chief Minister’s announcement, Communist Party of India-Marxist central committee member Jitendra Chowdhury said that Deb’s speech is a combination of arrogance and ignorance.
Chowdhury, a former Tripura Minister, said that Deb’s speech in a public forum portrayed the approach and method of governance that was prevailing in Tripura after the BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) alliance came to power three years ago.
“The BJP-led governments both at the Center and the states have forcefully muted all kinds of civil liberties, freedom of speech and all pillars of democracy while a total lawlessness has been prevailing in Tripura.
“It has been revealed further from Deb’s speech that the top brass in BJP is engaged in the internal affairs of our neighbouring countries, which is contrary to our long cherished foreign policy since independence,” the veteran tribal leader and former Lok Sabha member said.
He alleged that it is extremely unfortunate that this same BJP and their governments have brought sedition charges against the innocent citizens to silence the dissent voices, and octogenarian Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and teen ager Disha Ravi like people are not spared.
Tripura Congress Vice-President Tapas Dey said that Deb’s comments with reference to Sri Lanka and Nepal are against the foreign policies of India. “It was a long established policy of India not to interfere into any internal issues and affairs of any sovereign nations,” Dey told the media on Monday.