West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appealed to President Droupadi Murmu to protect the country's Constitution and its citizens' constitutional rights and save the nation from a disaster.
At a civic reception of Murmu here, Banerjee lauded her as a "Golden lady" and said the country has a proud heritage of people from various communities, castes, and creeds living in harmony for ages.
"Madam President, you are the constitutional head of this country. I would request you protect the Constitution and the constitutional rights of the poor people of this country. We would request you to protect the country from a disaster," Banerjee said at the civic reception.
Banerjee, who presented the President with the goddess Durga idol, played the tribal drum and danced with tribals during the programme.
While thanking the government and people of West Bengal for the warm welcome, the President said that sacrifice, martyrdom, culture, and education had been the life ideals in the state.
"The people of Bengal are cultured and progressive. The land of Bengal has given birth to immortal revolutionaries on the one hand and prominent scientists on the other. From politics to the justice system, from science to philosophy, from spirituality to sports, from culture to business, from journalism to literature, cinema, music, drama, painting, and other art forms, Bengal's remarkable pioneers have found new ways and methods in many fields," she said.
Murmu said the people of Bengal have always prioritised the ideals of social justice, equality, and self-respect.
She said she was happy to note that a street in Kolkata, has been named 'Sido-Kanhu-Dahar' in memory of the Santhal leaders who spearheaded a rebellion to oust the British colonial authority and the corrupt zamindari system.
"Such initiatives give strength to the ideals of our freedom struggle, especially to the self-confidence and self-pride of our tribal brothers and sisters," she said.
No representative of the opposition BJP was present at the civic reception.
According to the ruling Trinamool Congress, top opposition party leaders, including BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, national vice-president Dilip Ghosh and Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari have been invited to the programme.
Although Majumdar and Ghosh did not attend the programme due to other engagements, Adhikari claimed he was not invited to it.
The ruling Trinamool Congress dubbed the charge "baseless" and accused the BJP leaders of "boycotting" the President's programme despite being invited.
Adhikari, currently in New Delhi, tweeted: "Those who queued up to vote against her (Murmu) would take the centre stage & hog the limelight at the felicitation event! Those who queued up to vote in her favour are snubbed by the WB Govt & aren't invited !"
The state BJP leadership clarified that it did not boycott the programme.
"Suvendu Adhikari was not at all invited to the programme. Sukanta Majumdar and Dilip Ghosh couldn't attend the programme as the state president had some other engagements. Dilip Da is in New Delhi as the Parliament session is on," a state BJP leader said.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party claimed that BJP leaders stooped to a new low.
"Despite being invited to the event scheduled at Netaji Indoor Stadium, they have chosen to boycott it. When it comes to petty politics, @BJP4India does not even spare the Hon'ble President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu. Shameful," the TMC said in another Twitter post.
Murmu arrived here on Monday for a two-day visit to West Bengal. This is her first tour to the state after being elected the President.