There can be differences in ideology but one should respect the prime minister's post, former TMC MP and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's kin Krishna Bose said, amid a war of words between Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee.
The octogenarian said Modi, too, should not forget that state governments are elected and have powers.
"I may not agree with the ideology of the BJP but as long as Narendra Modi is the elected prime minister of the country, I have to be respectful towards him. I will respect him as the PM of the country but not as the head of a political party with whom I do not agree," Bose told PTI in an interview.
Referring to Modi's "speed-breaker didi" jibe at Banerjee and her "expiry prime minister" retort, the former four-time Lok Sabha MP said the remarks were absolutely unnecessary.
"I do not take it only as a part of a speech of an election campaign saying who is a speed breaker or who is not a prime minister at all. It is much more serious than that... But I do not think such comments should not have come from both the sides... Otherwise a federal government will not be able to function properly. Both the governments are elected ones," she said.
She said "everyone should remember that India is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious country and if you do not follow that ideal then you cannot really rule India. In that way, Modi has to remember this and not blame others for what they are doing or not doing".
"And if you are talking about appeasing the Muslims, that is not new but it had been going on for a very very long time and that is why the community is left behind. Had the political parties thought of the real good of them then something else should have been done," she said.
She said how can one just blame Banerjee. "Everybody has been doing it. Everyone is questioning it at the time of the elections. I cannot blame Mamata for that," Bose opined.
On the rise of the BJP in West Bengal, Bose reasoned the growing dissatisfaction among the people of the state with the TMC government.
Bose claimed Mamata has done certain good things for the development of West Bengal, but all her good work has been spoilt by some people around her.
"People here are also unhappy with two things, the syndicate and secondly that they could not vote in the last panchayat election held here. The present government should have taken strong steps," Bose said.
She added the BJP was quickly filling up the vacuum in the state created by little presence of the CPI(M) and the Congress.
"Today's ruling party in Delhi has a particular ideology. They say it openly. They want Hindutva. But in Bengal, the manner we are trying to stop that by competing with them is not the way.Think of Netaji and Gandhiji and how they fought this thing by not competing," Bose said.
When asked whether the Election Commission was biased towards the BJP-led central government, Bose said, "The EC, the judiciary, the Army never came into our political process. The EC must be free, independent, so it can do whatever it wants to. These were checks which had kept the election alive".
"By what is happening, it seems they are unable to control the situation. It looks like they are either afraid of being independent or they are partisan to different parties in different situation," she said.
Bose said if bodies like the EC gets "diluted and were not allowed to function independently" then the future was not far away when this would become a "threat to the Indian democracy".
"Now you sort of dilute these bodies and if the EC is afraid to do their own work and do not have the independence or they fall to such a level that they listen to certain parties then you cannot keep democracy any more and free and fair elections now look like a joke to us," she pointed out.
Bose, who has witnessed polling since the first elections in the country, questioned the need of deploying central forces almost in every polling booths in West Bengal.
"Why should we at all need central forces or police or the state police. This itself means that we are unable to control the election and organise a free and fair polling. I have been seeing the elections since 1952 and at the beginning we did not have these problems.
"In a democracy, people want free and fair elections. But that is not happening. Our Constitution is very good and that is the reason we could keep our democracy intact for so long. But I am sceptical for how long our democracy will be intact," she said.
On the chances of 'Mahagatbandhan' (grand alliance), Bose said, "I believe they definitely have a chance. I cannot deny that, but we have to wait for that. But if they come together and preserve unity and not fight among themselves I think they may have a good future".
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)