Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday exhorted the BJP to show more restraint in its actions and words now that the party has suffered setbacks in Assembly elections in Bihar, Uttarakhand and Karnataka. She also warned the BJP against trying to create any divide on religious lines in West Bengal.
Speaking at a rally organised to celebrate the Foundation Day of Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), party’s student wing at Mayo Road, Mamata took a dig at the party governing at the Centre.
“They thought by getting 29 per cent votes (in Lok Sabha elections), they had the mandate of the people, but it was just negative voting (as) the Congress had become so unpopular. Now the balloon has burst. Look at Uttarakhand, Bihar, Karnataka, everywhere they are getting rasgullas (zero),” the CM said.
She continued: “BJP is trying to bring a divide here on religious lines. But I warn them, do not incite violence, do not try to set the house on fire.”
The CM also spoke against the Governors quitting, which she attributed to BJP’s policy of “driving out people at its will” and asked the party to “not be so arrogant”.
Mamata also criticised the Centre for not doing anything to bail her government out of the financial crisis. “We had to pay Rs 1 lakh crore as repayment of interest on loan, which was taken by the CPM-led government. We only inherited the sin.” She blamed the previous regime for the flourishing chit fund agencies and questioned the BJP and Congress’ stance then. “What were they doing then? People like
Aparna Sen who merely worked for the Group (in Saradha’s media arm) are being interrogated. So many journalists who worked there lost their jobs. But I ask, why didn’t they (CBI) probe into how BJP spent Rs 10,000 crore during election campaign?” she asked, adding the state government will extend all co-operation with the investigation in the Saradha scam, but the money must be returned to the investors.
About the Centre’s recently introduced Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Mamata claimed the scheme had already been launched in West Bengal. “Eighty per cent of people in villages have been covered under it. We have launched Kisan credit cards that will enable farmers to have access to banks.”
She termed her trip to Singapore as “wonderful”, saying many industrialists and businessmen responded positively to her appeal to invest in West Bengal.
Later in the day, the BJP reacted sharply to her comments, saying it reflects she is “afraid of the party”. “She cannot handle the BJP challenge. She may take help from her adversary, the CPM. Also, if she talks of arrogance, she should first shun her politics of terror,” Siddharth Nath Singh, BJP general secretary and in-charge of the party’s state unit, told The Indian Express.