Apparently taking a dig at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his ‘Chai pe Charcha’ initiative, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said her party does not believe in sitting at a tea shop just before the elections.
“We unlike BJP don’t believe in ‘adda’ sitting at a tea shop only during election time. Votes are being sought for BJP by showing tea,” Banerjee said here.
Addressing her party workers, she said Trinamool Congress’s fight was against BJP, Congress and CPI(M) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. “BJP, Congress, CPI(M) – our fight is against the three. Keep this in mind. We had created the Trinamool Congress against the misrule of the Congress,” she said.
Claiming that unlike BJP, her party was always close to the people, the chief minister said, “I think that instead of sitting in a concrete jungle, it is better to be on the streets because one can get information about the people.” Banerjee said she wanted to see her party at the national level because the challenge for her was to restore the pride of Bengal outside the state. She, however, added, “I am not going anywhere from Bengal.”
“We will have to fight and win against the CPI(M), Congress and BJP. We want Delhi and all other states to take pride in us,” Banerjee said. The party was also targeting states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam, she said. Banerjee said she would go to Delhi on February 18 and then tour Tripura and Assam on February 25 and 26 respectively.
Banerjee blamed the Centre for stalling funds forprojects like MNREGA and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan saying that the state government was to receive Rs 8000 crore of which Rs 5000 crore was not sanctioned. Listing the achievements of her two-and-a-half year old state government, the chief minister claimed that double of what was promised in the elections in 2011 had been achieved.
Claiming that the state was now growing at a higher rate, she said this year’s income would be around Rs 40,000 crore but out of which Rs 28,000 crore would be paid as interest to the Centre for loans taken by the earlier Left Front government. Blaming the CPI(M) for the chit-fund scam, she said it was during Left rule that companies like Saradha and Sanchayita had started. “They are like pick-pockets who flee once their job is done,” she said about chit-fund operators and pointed out that her government has paid Rs 500 crore and would give Rs 10,000 each to poor victims who lost their money. On the issue of land acquisition, she said if farmers were willing to give land she would not interfere. “I respect their right. I do not want to create any imbalance,” Banerjee said.
Unlike bigger parties like the BJP and Congress, she said her party was poor and did not have thousands of crores to spend on publicity. “My Facebook account is run by three people only. I decide the matter, one person types it and another posts it,” Banerjee said. She also asked party workers to follow the leadership. “Individual opinions can be discussed in the party but the party decision will be final.”