Upset with Nitish Kumar for not backing her campaign against the Centre’s demonetisation move, Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at her Bihar counterpart Wednesday, saying “gaddari karne walon ko nahin chhodenge (betrayers will not be spared)”. Speaking at a dharna in Patna, Banerjee did not name Nitish Kumar with whom she appears to be engaged in a tussle for the leadership of the non-Congress Opposition bloc. She said it pained her that some political parties were not backing her demand that the Centre should roll back its demonetisation decision.
“Jo saath hai to achchha hai, jo nahin hai to dukh lagta hai. Hum kisi ka naam nahin lenge. Yeh janata ki baat hai (It feels good to have support but it pains when you don’t have that support. I will not name anyone. This concerns the people).” She raised several slogans including “gaddari karne walon ko nahin chhodenge, nahin chhodenge”.
Describing the Centre’s demonetisation announcement as “Super Emergency”, Banerjee said: “We have lost our freedom 69 years after Independence. Roti, kapda aur makaan chheen gaya (basic needs such as food, clothing and housing have been snatched). Super Emergency has taken away our freedom.”
Taking another swipe at Nitish Kumar who has been speaking for a cashless economy, she said: “Of 8,000 Bihar panchayats, 5,000 panchayats have little access to banks and ATMs. There are several people who have never been to a bank, forget cashless transactions.” She reminded the crowds that the popular movement against Emergency started in Bihar.
“Desh ko bech diya (the country has been sold). There is need to speak out against demonetisation which is not supported by people who understand economics. Manmohan Singh, a leading economist, has also not supported it,” Banerjee said.
Although she met Lalu Prasad a day earlier, the RJD chief and his sons who are state ministers gave her dharna a miss. RJD vice president and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh represented the party at the dharna — Nitish Kumar had met Lalu Prasad Tuesday evening and spoken to RJD legislators. After their meeting, Lalu said the Bihar grand alliance was “strong as ever”.