This Independence Day speech by PM Modi to be his last: Mamata
Banerjee, while speaking at a pre-Independence Day programme proclaimed that the opposition bloc INDIA will soon take the field, adding "khela hobe (we will play)"
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech will be his last as the PM from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi.
Banerjee, while speaking at a pre-Independence Day programme organised by the TMC at Behala in Kolkata, also proclaimed that the opposition bloc INDIA will soon take the field, adding "khela hobe (we will play)".
'Khela hobe' was a slogan that the ruling TMC had coined during the 2021 assembly poll campaign.
"Modiji's Independence Day speech tomorrow will be his last speech as prime minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort," Banerjee said.
The chief minister also said she believes that the opposition bloc INDIA, of which her Trinamool Congress is a member, will emerge victorious in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
"INDIA bloc will decimate the BJP across the country. In Bengal, the TMC will decisively defeat the saffron party," she said.
The TMC supremo indicated that she does not harbour prime ministerial ambitions, stating that "Bengal does not want 'Kursi' (political position), it wants to dislodge the BJP 'Sarkar'".
Banerjee also alleged that there are corruption charges against the BJP government at the Centre, citing the Rafale aircraft purchase and demonetisation of high-value notes among "suspect" deals.
"In Bengal, there have been a few instances of corruption against which we have taken immediate steps. However, there are several corruption allegations against the Centre, be it the Rafale jet deal or demonetisation of Rs 2,000 notes," she said.
The TMC supremo also said, "How are they (the Centre) talking about corruption when they cannot give the details of the account of PM Cares Funds? BJP leaders here keep talking about Rs 5 lakh crore debt. But they should know that CPI(M) had left behind a debt of Rs 3 lakh crore. Everyone knows that the debt will keep on increasing till the loans are not paid off.".
She slammed the erstwhile Left Front government for "huge" debt on the state, and said that the current TMC dispensation could have done more for the people, if "we did not have the debt of the former governments".
The chief minister also accused the union government of "holding back" central allocation for food projects in West Bengal.
"You (the Centre) are not giving rice to us. You have stopped allocation though you are funding it from our own money. Don't forget there is a 60:40 allocation ratio for central projects with a 40 per cent state share. If you hold back money to the projects, which is our due, people will seek an answer from you," she said.
Banerjee also accused the Centre of "not clearing" funds for homes and roads in Bengal and "depriving" the people of their wages under the 100-day work scheme.
"Even our women, who were engaged in manual labour, were not paid their dues amounting to Rs 7,000 crore," she said.
"This money is not just given by the Centre but also by state governments through sales tax, excise duty and VAT. The central government imposed one tax called GST in exchange for all. But, they are neither giving us our share nor central funds for welfare schemes. In total, the Centre has blocked Rs 1.15 lakh crore," Banerjee alleged.
The CM also claimed that she had flagged these issues to the prime minister "at least 4-5 times".
"We are not begging for money but for our rights. If the Centre fails to give Bengal its due, our students and youth leaders will protest in front of the Gandhi statue in Delhi on October 2. I will be by their side," Banerjee said.
She also said her government was able to provide work for 28 days to the job card holders in Bengal despite the Centre "holding the state's dues".
"They (Centre) are here to deprive us for the next six months only. After that, nobody knows where they will be," Banerjee claimed, stating that the "BJP will be defeated in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls".
The TMC boss alleged that PM Modi has changed the 'Garibi Hatao' (remove poverty) slogan of Indira Gandhi to 'Garib Hatao’ (remove the poor people).
"This shows the true anti-people nature of the Narendra Modi government which does not give the poor people the right to life, the right to livelihood. They only want to crush the dreams of the poor," she said.
Banerjee said in the 76th year of Independence, "We must question whether we are independent. We had enjoyed political freedom earlier but the same is not the case anymore. Today, Pegasus has taken away political freedom." .
She accused the Centre of "not allowing" democratically-elected state governments to work and "blocking our programmes and money".
Cautioning people to "sustained attempt to change the history of the country", Banerjee claimed that the saffron party wants people to forget history “but we won't allow that to happen".
The CM also asserted that the Modi government has been changing the names of one project after another, rechristening it after the PM.
She claimed that the BJP-ruled Gujarat is flaunted as a model by the saffron ecosystem, but if compared by statistics, West Bengal has got laurels on different parameters and is ahead of the western state.
"...from sanitation to poverty reduction rate, from unemployment rate to child mortality ratio, Bengal's track record is better," she said.
The CM also claimed that she recently got to know that "all helicopters have been booked by BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections".
Speaking on actions by central agencies on opposition leaders, she said, "While Democracy means of the people, by the people, and for the people, opposition-ruled states are being made to deal with ED-CBI and other central agencies to execute political vendetta." .
"Hemant Soren (Jharkhand CM) called me saying he was also sent a notice. I asked him to show them the might of the tribal community. Every institution is being used to malign Trinamool and Bengal," she added.
Published: 15 Aug 2023, 9:18 AM