Kolkata, July 22 (IANS) Lashing out at the central government for “destroying federalism and pushing the states to destruction”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking credit for development carried out by her government.
Addressing a mammoth rally in the city, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, strongly condemned the “atrocities on Dalits” in Gujarat and expressed alarm over the rising attempts to saffronise everything” and “proliferation of cow protection vigilantes”.
“The Centre is interfering in everything. It is destroying the federal structure. The Constitution has specified both the centre and the state’s roles. But they are interfering in our working and constantly threatening us.
“Because of the Centre’s erroneous polices, the states have been pushed towards destruction. The Centre must remember that its existence is because of the states,” said Banerjee.
Asserting the people’s “right to choice”, she warned against the bid to “saffronise everything”.
“We strongly condemn the atrocities on the Dalits in Gujarat. In the name of ‘gau raksha’ (cow protection), they are attempting to create communal tension,” said Banerjee referring to the recent brutal assault on four Dalit youths in Gujarat’s Una town and affirming any such attempt in Bengal will not be tolerated.
“I have also come to know that some elements in connivance with a party, are asking people here in Bengal about how many cows they have”.
“If such a thing is tried in Bengal, we will not tolerate that. People have their right to choice. A few people cannot decide what others will eat, wear or study,” she asserted.
“There are attempts to saffronise everything,” said Banerjee addressing the Trinamool’s annual Martyr’s day rally observed in remembrance of 13 youths killed in police firing July 21, 1993 in the city.
She also accused the Modi government of unleashing central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Department (ED) that “led to over 80,000 industrialists leaving the country”.
Taking a jibe at Modi’s pet schemes, including the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign, Banerjee claimed that funding for most of the central schemes has either been stopped or the state’s responsibilities increased.
“It is the state government which is carrying out development, but the entire credit is going to Modi.
“Modi keeps talking about ‘Swachh Bharat’, but where is the cleanliness? The cleanliness is only in the advertisements,” she said.
Ridiculing the BJP for pitching its achievement under the Adarsh Gram Yojana, Banerjee said that funds for at least 39 central schemes have been stopped while in 59 other schemes, the state’s contribution has been enhanced from 10 to 90 per cent.
She also warned the central dispensation against taking people for granted.
“When Pathankot happens, we don’t give our opinion and bat for the country’s unity, when terror attacks happen in Bangladesh, we don’t give our opinion. When there is trouble in Kashmir we pray for peace, but don’t give opinions.
“Then why you are interfering in our matters,” Banerjee said in an apparent reference the central leaders flaying the Trinamool government over law and order issue.
While a host of leaders including vice president Mukul Roy declared Trinamool’s “Delhi ambitions” and averred of playing a decisive role in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee insisted she did not harbour any aspirations of becoming the prime minister but exuded confidence of her party coming to power in Tripura.
“We want regional parties to flourish, we want federal structure to be strong. Many are saying Mamata wants to become the prime minister. But no, I want to stay in my hut in Bengal and work for the people,” she said.
“We will come to power in Tripura,” said Banerjee who would be visiting the state and address a rally on August 9.
Even as she claimed the reports of factionalism within the Trinamool as “media creations”, she warned her party members from falling prey to greed.
“Because of the wrongdoings of one or two people, the whole party gets maligned. You cannot function whimsically, you have to follow the party discipline. I don’t want people in Trinamool who fall prey to greed,” said Banerjee who has been cracking the whip on rising illegal syndicates, many of whom are allegedly patronised by Trinamool leaders.