- Arvind Kejriwal, Mayawati among other leaders have expressed support
- But Naveen Patnaik, KCR have maintained silence over the protest
- Mamata Banerjee had last month organised a rally for opposition leaders
The leaders of several prominent opposition parties have expressed solidarity with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who on Sunday evening sat on protest against the central government after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers visited the house of Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar.
While AAP's Arvind Kejriwal, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah spoke to Ms Banerjee on phone, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK's MK Stalin, TDP's N Chandrababu Naidu tweeted in her support.
Lalu Yadav's son Tejashwi Yadav said he might visit Kolkata today in support of Ms Banerjee.
Spoke to respected @MamataOfficial ji. Extended RJD's support, BJP has not only venomous & nefarious agenda against opposition leaders but Indian Administrative Service & Police Officers. Might visit Kolkata tomorrow- Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) February 3, 2019
However, two leaders who maintained silence were Telangana Chief Minister KCR or K Chandrashekar Rao and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik.
The high-voltage drama started on Sunday evening when a CBI team reached the house of Rajeev Kumar. The CBI wanted to quiz him over two Ponzi schemes, over which several leaders of the Ms Banerjee's party have been arrested.
Rajeev Kumar -- who headed a Special Investigation Team probing the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi scams that surfaced in 2013 -- was asked to help with the investigation after several key documents allegedly went missing. Over the last two years he had received several summons for questioning.
Five CBI officials, who turned up at Mr Kumar's home, were taken to a local police station and allegedly detained.
Ms Banerjee later sat on protest. "How dare you come to a police commissioner's home without a warrant," she said.
"There is total constitutional breakdown. It is my job to protect my officers," the Chief Minister told reporters in the evening. "They (the BJP) cannot fight us politically. That's why they are resorting to all this... Mr (Ajit) Doval is doing whatever PM wants him to do, he is the one giving all the instructions to CBI," Ms Banerjee added.
The CBI is planning to approach the Supreme Court against the West Bengal government on Monday. "Tomorrow the CBI will approach the Supreme Court on the matter as the West Bengal police is not cooperating," acting chief M Nageswara Rao said.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal expressed solidarity with Ms Banerjee. "Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo's action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy," he tweeted.
Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo's action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy- Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 3, 2019
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the use of CBI as a political tool crossed all limits.
Just spoke to @MamataOfficial didi to convey the support of @JKNC_ as she sits in dharna. The use of the CBI as a political tool has crossed all limits as has the Modi government's misuse of institutions. A former CM having such little regard for India's federalism is shocking- Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 3, 2019
DMK president MK Stalin said the independence of every institution has been compromised by the BJP government.
The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government.- M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) February 3, 2019
I stand with @MamataOfficial Didi in her fight to protect the federal structure of this country and to save democracy.#SaveDemocracy
"We completely support Mamata Banerjee's dharna. People and the opposition of the country are united to defeat the BJP in elections," Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.
The BJP wants to stay in power by hook or by crook. They are so scared of losing that CBI is being used as election agents- Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) February 3, 2019
This is undemocratic and against spirit of the constitution. We demand due process be followed so that CBI is not used as a tool of political interference.
Ms Banerjee was at the forefront of talks between the Congress and regional parties for a pan-India, anti-BJP alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, after the talks with the Congress went south, the BJP had mocked the proposed alliance, saying it had no central figure as its leader.
Mamata Banerjee last month organised a rally for the leaders of opposition parties. "Just because I organised a United India rally, they are doing all this. Amit Shah and PM Modi are doing all they can to target us," she said on Sunday.