Kolkata: Hitting out at Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her rally in New Delhi against FDI in retail, state Congress activists Monday burnt her effigies while party leaders termed her rally a political gimmick.
The West Bengal Congress Monday organised the rally in support of FDI in retail at Hazra Crossing, at a stone's throw from Banerjee's house in the Trinamool Congress' political bastion.
Slogan shouting Congress supporters extolled the virtues of FDI in retail and burnt Banerjee's effigies.
"It is nothing but a political gimmick. She is saying that the Congress is a party for notes (money). Her protest is for votes. When she used the helicopter service to campaign against the Left Front and the Congress paid those bills, at that time she didn't say that the Congress is a party of notes," Congress MP Deepa Dasmunsi said.
In a bid to counter Banerjee's sit-in in New Delhi against FDI in retail, the West Bengal state Congress too planned a rally in Kolkata on the same day to back the central government's economic reforms.
"She is trying to project herself as more Leftist than the traditional Left of Bengal. She is doing this political drama with an eye to the upcoming panchayat polls," Dasmunsi said.
State Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said the Trinamool Congress was giving more importance to its own vested political interests than the interest of farmers.
"What the Left did by opposing computerisation, Mamata Banerjee is doing by opposing retail FDI. Retail FDI will benefit farmers and consumers of the state. Farmers will get a better price for their crops," Bhattacharya said.
"They are saying that FDI in retail will kill small traders. This is absolutely wrong. Have big stores such as Pantaloons, Big Bazaar and Spencer's finished off small traders? No, both co-exist," he said.
Bhattacharya declared that the state Congress will organise mass movements across West Bengal demanding FDI in retail be allowed in the state.