Chief minister Mamata Banerjee launched a personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public rally, where she also questioned the CBI’s jurisdiction in sending notices seeking documents relating to the party’s income and expenditure.
The Trinamool Congress chief took to the streets against the central land acquisition Bill, walking a three-kilometre stretch from the Moulali crossing to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the Maidan.
Mamata said her party would oppose the land Bill tooth and nail in Parliament and ensure it retained a pro-farmer face. “Our party was the first to take up the farmers’ issue. We fasted for Singur and fought for Nandigram. The government at the Centre has spent a year in office but has hardly done any work except clicking selfies and issuing statements. He’s lying,” she said at the rally in the heart of the city. “The situation seems to be worse now than during Emergency. At their (the BJP’s) national meet, even the media wasn’t allowed to be present,” she said.
Making a jibe at Modi’s ‘Man Ki Baat’ programme, she said, “One is busy only in ‘Man Ki Baat’. Dimaag hi nehi hai, to dimaag chale ga kaise? ( He doesn’t have a brain, so how will he make it work?)”
With the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections only nine days away, Mamata went all out against the Opposition, alleging that the CPI(M) and Congress had put up a show of opposition in Delhi, all the while cosying up to the BJP in Bengal.
She even narrated a joke doing the rounds on social media after the Smriti Irani incident at a Fabindia store in Goa, making fun of Modi launching into a public speech after he detects a camera in the trial room of a shop.
Attacking the Centre for “unleashing the CBI” on her party just before the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections and the civic polls in Bengal, she said, “Whenever elections are on the horizon, they let loose the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, Income-Tax Department, National Investigation Agency, Central Industrial Security Force... the BJP’s now threatening us with the CBI.”
The chief minister has reason to feel uncomfortable, since CBI has asked for the details of her party’s funds between 2010 and 2014, including the proceeds of paintings sold by the chief minister.
“Ours is the poorest political party. Everyone knows how much they (the BJP) spent for the Delhi polls and how many posters they put up. And now, the CBI has the gall to send the Trinamool Congress a notice! What’s your (the CBI’s) jurisdiction? As all other political parties, we give our income and expenditure statements to the Election Commission and Income-Tax Department. Go, take it from them. The notices will pile up and we’ll send the pile to Delhi,” Mamata remarked.
She targeted the CPI(M) for alleging a reign of terror before the civic polls this month, harping instead on incidents from Nandig ram and Singur to Chamkaitala in West Midnapore and Bantala near Kolkata, which hit the headlines for alleged Left terror.
“She should first take care of the Singur issue and then talk about the land Bill. Farmers are committing suicide in Bengal,” said Sidharth Nath Singh, BJP national secretary and observer for Bengal.
“She speaks a lot. We attach no importance to her comments since everyone knows how the administration functions under her,” Sujan Chakraborty, CPI(M) state secretariat member, said.