West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday for his demonetisation decision, and seemingly compared him to Bollywood villain Gabbar Singh.
“If you (Modi) want, you can arrest us all. We don’t care. The situation is like threatening kids by telling them to keep shut, or else Gabbar Singh will come,” said Banerjee, speaking on the governor’s address at the state assembly on Wednesday.
Mamata, however, did not name any leader. After the announcement of demonetisation, the Bengal CM has repeatedly attacked Modi, alleging that his decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have only hurt the poor.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 8 last year the government’s decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bank notes, in a move aimed at tackling black money.
“Recently, I read in newspaper reports, that all our party leaders will be arrested in days to come. We are not afraid of such threats,” Banerjee said.
“Are all your leaders (BJP) white and the rest of us are black! The people of the country have never witnessed such a government,” she said.
BJP leaders, including state president Dilip Ghosh, had said on Monday that other Trinamool Congress leaders will be arrested by the CBI in the chit fund scam after the conclusion of assembly elections in five states.
Modi, in his first defence of currency recall in Parliament, compared demonetisation to fight tax evasion and illicit wealth with surgery on a human body.
“When can you have an operation? When the body is healthy. The economy was doing well and thus our decision was taken at the right time,” a combative Modi said, peppering his speech with stinging attacks on Opposition.
The Bengal chief minister has also alleged that the arrest of her party MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay in January this year and Tapas Pal the month before in the Rose Valley scam is also a fallout of the opposition that her party put up around the country.
TMC MPs demonstrated in front of Parliament last week and marched towards the Prime Minister’s residence when police intercepted them.
Gabbar Singh, the villain from Bollywood movie Sholay, has acquired a legendary status since the film’s released in 1975. The dialogue -- “pachas kos door gaanw me jab bachcha raat ko rota hai, toh maa kehti hai beta soja ..soja nahi to Gabbar Singh aa jaayega (When babies cry at night in villages fifty miles away, their mother says sleep or else Gabbar Singh will come),” -- has become a part of the folklore.