While reiterating that it was her “constitutional duty” as Chief Minister to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits West Bengal on a two-day tour beginning May 9, Mamata Banerjee said media should not read too much into it. Clarifying that there has been “no deal” between her and the Prime Minister, she said that she will meet Modi to make the “federal structure stronger”.
“When I don’t meet the PM, media says I am always fighting. When I meet him, they say we have a deal. I will meet the PM during his visit. It is my constitutional duty, which I have to perform. I am in favour of making the federal structure of India stronger,” Mamata said.
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Addressing a workshop for the newly-elected councillors of the Trinamool Congress, she said there was no question of pleading for central funds, but added that getting funds allocated for the social sector schemes is a right of the state. “Centre takes taxes from all States and then distributes money to us. They are not doing any favour. We inherited a huge debt burden. Centre takes away our revenues for no fault of ours,” she said.
Mamata has also kept a memorandum ready for Modi in which she had explained how her government is facing “financial deprivation at the hands of the central government”. Stating that she will raise all these issues with the PM in the meeting, Mamata said, “Centre has slashed allocations for various schemes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan & Backward Region Development. So many people will be out of work if 100 days’ work scheme is curtailed. They have reduced funds for ICDS. There are no funds for mid-day meal scheme. How will the poor students survive?”
The Trinamool Congress chief maintained that she had kept all promises she made to the people. “When I was Railways Minister I had initiated several projects for Bengal. When we came to power, I said I will develop land banks. I have done that. We have lost a lot of time because of various elections. We could have done much more. We are giving rice at Rs 2 per kilo to the landlosers in Singur. We are providing vocational training to Adivasi, tribal students. We have a social responsibility. We are aware of our duties. A leader has to take everyone along. Let Opposition continue their slander. We will work for the people,” she said.
Stating that the “Trinamool Congress is intact. TMC is in. Rest all are out”, she instructed her party men to celebrate the victory on May 9 by organizing various programmes in every block.