Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday claimed she can sell her paintings for crores and can decide the price for the same with no one having the authority to question her.
Accusing the Opposition, Central investigating agencies and the media of trying to taint the image of Trinamool Congress, Mamata — while addressing a rally in Beliaghata, a Left Front stronghold, ahead of the April 18 KMC polls — said as a painter, she will decide how much her party can get from her paintings. This comes days after the CBI sent a notice to Trinamool seeking details of its income from 2010 to 2014.
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“Three strokes of my brush can fetch Rs 10 lakh. I buy my own canvas, paints and brushes. I can sell my paintings for crores. Who are you to question me? Why are you criticising? I have sold 300 paintings and have also given out 600 for free. You don’t see the free paintings. Even if I sold each painting for Rs 3 lakh, it would have fetched me Rs 9 crore,” she said about the Opposition’s allegations about her paintings being sold for lakhs of rupees.
“You can also try your hand in paintings and check whether people will buy them. On one side there is BJP and on the other, there is Biman (Left Front Chairman Biman Bose),” she added.
“I can write and you cannot write. Nobody has stopped you from writing. You can write but nobody will buy books written by you because they will not believe your writings. But I can challenge you that if I write a book, they will have the maximum sale,” Mamata claimed, stating that her books have the maximum sale in the annual Kolkata International Book Fair.
She added that she has not taken any salary, used the office car or even drank tea at the government’s expenses. “I don’t want any certificate from you but there is a limit to which a person can endure. I am only trying to make the party stand on its own feet,” she claimed.
Mamata hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over CBI notice to her party asking for details of its accounts, saying “nothing happens without his orders”. “The CBI is the Prime Minister’s department, nothing happens without his orders,” Mamata alleged.
“We have submitted our accounts to the IT department and the Election Commission. Why is the CBI asking for the same again? And why only single out our party? Why can’t the Congress, CPM and BJP be questioned about their wealth? It is a ploy of the Centre to malign us before the elections. This has happened several times before,” said Mamata.
Alleging that the “leaders of robbers” are in power at the Centre, she said: “They had spent thousands of crores in publicity by using the media to have come to power… But people have seen through their tricks and there was no ‘achhey din’ for the common people. I don’t wear sarees worth crores and later auction those. There are people who do that with their suits,” Mamata said in an indirect reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi auctioning the suit he had worn this Republic Day.
Mamata warned that her silence should not be interpreted as weakness and she was capable of giving a fitting reply to all critcisms. “I don’t feel like explaining myself all the time but I have decided to conduct four to five meetings ahead of the civic polls to tell the people about the conspiracy against our party,” she said.
Claiming the Trinamool was a transparent party, the CM said she does not tolerate any indiscipline in the party. “Look at the examples of Sambhunath Kow and Munna. We have got them arrested. Those who are naughty, I see to it that they get punished,” she added.