A day after pointing a finger at the UPA government for failing to check the misuse of central forces by the CPI-M in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee said she would take up the issue of rising prices of onions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The first issue our leaders will highlight to the Prime Minister is the price rise of onions," Banerjee said at a party rally here on Thursday.
Announcing that the Trinamool Congress would launch a statewide agitation against the price rise from December 27, Banerjee said her pleas that a monitoring committee of the UPA government be set up to check rising prices of essential goods were not heeded.
"We have demanded a monitoring or a coordination committee. But we were not heard. We were not included in discussions as prices of essential commodities went up," she said.
Without naming the Congress, Banerjee lashed out at the Congress — her party’s ally in Bengal and at the Centre.
"Change did not come to Bengal earlier because Trinamool was not around. In 2001, a change would have come to Bengal but the NDA helped the CPI-M, and those with whom we entered into an alliance (Congress) made the waters murkier," Banerjee said. The Trinamool Congress was formed in January 1998.
The Trinamool chief said she would also demand that the central government withdraw its security forces from Bengal.
"The central police forces are being misused in Bengal by the CPI-M and must be pulled back..." she said.
State chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, however, dismissed her allegations as "absurd and baseless". He said in reply to a question in the state assembly that the central security forces were assisting the state government and their operations were being monitored by IG and DIG-level officers of the CRPF.