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There should be mutual respect between political rivals, says Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday stressed the need to have mutual respect between political rivals despite differences, lamenting an era of intolerance in the country.

Banerjee, speaking in the assembly on the eve of Constitution Day, also claimed that the BJP-led government at the center was running the country through central agencies, and called for the protection of people’s democratic rights.

“There is now an era of political intolerance in the country… which is a pity. According to the constitution, representatives of the people must work for the good of the people. There should be no division based on religion, community or cast, and polarization.

“But what do we experience? On the contrary, we are witnessing people’s rights being taken away,” the prime minister said.

Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, who took part in the discussion earlier, said the Trinamool Congress government snatched people’s democratic rights, politicized the education sector, made the bureaucracy partisan and did not believe in showing respect to the opposition.

Banerjee refuted the allegations, saying her government showed due respect to the opposition and offered the chairmanship to BJP MLAs of nine assembly panels from the 41 committees.

“There must be mutual respect, even if we are political rivals. That is what keeps democracy going,” she said.

“We invite you to business summits and film festivals, but you are not coming,” Banerjee said, referring to the BJP members in the meeting.

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