Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has sought to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishing for debt waiver, Friday said she was compelled to take the step as the 14th Finance Commission failed to redress the issue despite assurances from the central government.
“We were assured that the 14th Finance Commission will address our problem. Since it hasn’t, now we have woken from our sleep,” Banerjee told media persons a day after she informed having written to Modi as Bengal needs “immediate relief from the debt burden”.
“Be it (former finance ministers) Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram or (union finance minister) Arun Jaitley or even (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh, all had assured that the 14th Finance Commission will take care of our problems. But that has not been. So we are forced to take up the issue.
“When we saw the report there was nothing for us. So we are forced to take the issue with the centre. We cannot allow Bengal to remain deprived,” said Banerjee who has sought an appointment with Modi.
“If today Maharashtra, Rajasthan or Gujarat faced a similar problem, wouldn’t the government have helped them? Why should we be made to pay for the crime of the erstwhile government,” said Banerjee who has been blaming the erstwhile Left Front government for the huge debt burden.
Meanwhile the opposition has given mixed response to Banerjee – also the Trinamool Congress supremo – who has asked it to accompany her to the meet with Modi.
Speaking during the debate on the governor’s address in the state assembly, Banerjee Thursday said she would be “happy” if the opposition parties joined her.
While the Congress has called for a formal proposal in the assembly for the move, the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front outrightly rejected the idea.
“Just for the sake of it she has asked the opposition to join her. If she really intends that the opposition should join her. then let her bring a formal proposal through the speaker in the assembly. We will be happy to join the demand for the state’s development,” said Congress legislator Manas Bhunia.
Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra, of the CPI-M, said: “She was part of the centre both with the BJP and the Congress, did she did anything for providing such moratorium to any state?
“She is blaming us for the debt burden. But what about the Rs.80,000 crore that her government has incurred in debts? Who will share that burden.”
“Her demands are impossible. The way she has been blaming us for the debt burden, I think only a lunatic will join her. What is the benefit of going when her leaders have swindled money and are being arrested and grilled by the CBI,” said Mishra, referring to the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam in which several of Trinamool leaders have been jailed and grilled.
“She takes out rallies against us calling us thieves, we can’t join her,” he added.
However, lone Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Samik Bhatatcharya said his party did not believe in politics of division and assured assistance when the issue involved the welfare of the state.