Hailing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a fighter who is single-handedly battling against all atrocities, veteran actor and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan on Monday took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying no one has ever succeeded by "intimidating" Bengalis.
Jaya said she is in Bengal to campaign for the Trinamool Congress as per instructions of her party president Akhilesh Yadav, who has extended support to Mamata Banerjee in the polls.
"I have lots of love and respect for Mamataji, who is one single woman fighting against all atrocities. Head broken, leg broken but they have not been able to break her heart and brain and determination to move ahead and make Bengal one of the best places in the world.
"She will accomplish what she wants. Bengal will witness further development under her leadership," the actor-turned-politician said.
Besides, SP, other prominent opposition parties like Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha have extended support to the TMC in the high-octane ongoing West Bengal assembly elections, notwithstanding the fact that Congress and the Left Front have forged another alliance against the BJP and the Trinamool Congress there.
Bachchan, who was a regular invitee to the Kolkata International Film Festival till 2019 apart from Big B and has good rapport with the West Bengal chief minister, did not entertain any question and answer session after her statement.
She commented she is looking forward to her interaction with the press during her stay in the next few days.
Referring to her Bengali roots, the veteran actor said, no one has ever succeeded by intimidating Bengalis.
"Bengalis never bow their heads before threat or intimidation," she said.
She, however, did not elaborate as in what manners Bengalis are being intimidated.
Apparently referring to the charge that BJP is out to divide Bengal by creating fissures on religious lines, Bachchan said, "let us remember the lines penned by Rabindranath Tagore -- Bangalir pran Bangalir mon Bangalir ghare joto bhai bon ek hok ek hok hain Bhagavan.
Roughly translated the lines mean -- mind and soul of Bengal can never be broken, the bonding among brothers and sisters in every Bengali household will never be broken.
Cautioning against any attempt to dictate her speech, her statement by anyone, Bachchan said, "Do not hijack my religion from me, do not hijack my democracy and democratic rights from me. And when I say me, I represent all people."
Alluding to the outsider jibe of Trinamool against BJP campaigners from Delhi, Bachchan said, "I am Bengali but born outside the state. My surname was Bhaduri before marriage."
Claiming that Banerjee is fighting for the democratic rights of Bengal, Bachchan said shame on those who are criticising her.
"She is fighting for the rights and respect of the people of Bengal. This is the safest state for women. Those who are criticising her by using offensive words, I would only say ‘shame! shame!’" She said.
She is slated to attend a road show for minister and Trinamool Congress leader Aroop Biswas in Tollygunge and address several meetings in support of party candidates during her stay.