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After a hectic Winter Session in which they emerged at the forefront of the opposition to demonetisation, Trinamool Congress MPs were back in Delhi Wednesday to protest against the arrest of party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay. The party’s leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien spoke to Abantika Ghosh about chit fund scams and the party’s plans. Excerpts:
Sudip Bandyopadhyay was arrested in Kolkata. Why is Trinamool protesting in Delhi?
We are protesting in Delhi because this is all about politics in Delhi and the nation. Mamatadi was the loudest voice of protest against notebandi. She said it will ruin the lives of millions and also cripple the economy. Even a civics student of Class VIII will see through the political vendetta.
What do the Rose Valley arrests mean for the GST Bill?
We do not do ideology-less politics. Trinamool’s politics is consistent. Our stand on issues does not depend on where we sit. This kind of… I do not like using this phrase but I will use it.This is low life. Yes, low life.
Since you allege CBI is being manipulated by the government, will you take your grievances to the prime minister?
Modi babu is in a state of hubris — extreme arrogance before a fall. And what did his December 31 speech have? Not a word on the core issue of demonetisation. Mark what we are saying — we are not saying BJP hatao, desh bachao. We are saying Modi hatao, desh bachao. This slogan is significant.
Will your protests against demonetisation continue?
Of course. People are suffering, 116 people have died. The economy has been slaughtered, so say economists, housewives, political parties, traders, beedi workers, seniors, farmers, you name them. Only 100 people are celebrating.
What is it about TMC and chit fund scams?
Nothing. The history of chit funds in West Bengal goes back to the 1990s. Where was Trinamool then? Why is there no action against CPM or BJP leaders? Or for that matter why does no one talk about the Pearl scam in Punjab? Pearl scam should be investigated thoroughly especially with the Assembly polls coming up.
Will CM Mamata Banerjee come to Delhi?
Trinamool Congress has already taken the protests beyond Bengal. Mamatadi made two trips to Delhi, we held a protest today. Tomorrow also we are here. A detailed strategy will be worked out. We are in touch with all Opposition parties.
What is your future plan?
The agenda is to focus on Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao. We started off saying this is financial Emergency but the way things have happened, it is clear that this is a state of Emergency. But these actions will only strengthen the opposition unity. You have already seen statements from Congress and AAP and others. We appreciate their support. People know what is going on.