Calling upon all regional parties to come together, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said that they maintained a strong connect with people in the country and are the only ones who can fulfill the aspirations of the people.
Speaking at the United India Rally at Brigade Parade in Kolkata, Kumaraswamy said, "The non-BJP leaders should join hands and root out the BJP. BJP is merely a paper tiger. We the regional parties are the only ones which can understand and fulfill the aspirations of the people," Kumaraswamy said at the United India Rally at the Brigade Parade Ground here.
He also reaffirmed his belief that regional parties understood the common citizen better. "I firmly believe that regional parties have the strong instinct to connect with people and understand and protect the interests of the people of their State," he said.
Citing examples, he said: "In Tamil Nadu we saw the late M Karunanidhiji who won the hearts of the people and met their aspirations. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, the SP-BSP have been doing a great job. If you go to Andhra Pradesh, (Chief Minister) N Chandrababu Naidu has taken the state to new heights. Mamata Banerjee has transformed West Bengal in the last seven years. She has empowered women in the state. All regional leaders have strived to protect the interest of their states. Real India is at the grassroots. It is one of the strongest democracies in the world."
Terming the Bharatiya Janata Party as "undemocratic and against the Constitution", Kumaraswamy said the Union government has turned deaf and blind to the plight of the common man.
"Today, we are witnessing a system where ironically a democratic government is headed by undemocratic, anti-constitutional leaders at the Centre. They do not respect people's aspirations. The Union Government has turned blind and deaf to the plight of the common man. The irony is that though the states understand their problems, their hands are tied. They were made mute spectators. This is not a healthy sign," he added.
Kumaraswamy also praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who organised the opposition rally, and urged her to look after the well-being of the people.
"Mamata Banerjee's simplicity and the way she responds to their (people's) grievances, the urge she has for the well-being of the people of the country have left indelible impression on me. Didi (elder sister, as Mamata Banerjee is affectionately called) has always been a role model for the country. She has always stood for women empowerment. I am happy to be part of this rally. We will march together to build a new, strong India. My father had taught me over the years the same lesson, to be simple and humble like Didi," he said.
Kumaraswamy was among a number of non-BJP leaders to take part in the event that is being touted as the starting point for the Opposition's campaign for the Lok Sabha elections this year.
With inputs from IANS