Mamata lashes out at Congress, takes a dig at PM

Attacking the Congress and PM for `political opportunism`, Mamata Banerjee asserted that TMC will continue to oppose the `anti-people` policies of UPA.

Kolkata: Attacking the Congress and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for political opportunism, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asserted that her party, Trinamool Congress, will continue to oppose the "anti-people" policies of the central government.

Banerjee`s comment comes as a reaction to the statement by union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh where he stated that the credit for bringing a "revolutionary change" in West Bengal goes to Congress as much as to its ally Trinamool Congress.

"If I had not formed the Trinamool in 1998 then the state would have never witnessed a change under the leadership of Congress. The people of Bengal know who had contributed what. It was Trinamool who had fought the CPI-M (Communist Party Of India-Marxist) even after facing all adversaries," Banerjee told a Bengali news channel.
"What were they (the Congress) doing when I was fighting all alone against the Marxists during the days of Nandigram and Singur. At that time they were running the central government with the help of the Left," she said.

Banerjee also took a dig at Manmohan Singh for not enquiring about her during her days of hunger strike against forceful land acquisition in Bengal by the Left.

"When I was on a hunger strike for 26 days against forceful land acquisition, at that time the prime minister was in the city... he didn`t enquire about me because he was afraid that his Left friends would not like it. A union Congress minister during that time had disconnected my phone when I had called for help during Nandigram incident," she said.

The Trinamool Congress supremo, who has locked horns with the central government, said her party will continue to oppose its "anti-people" policies as the party`s primary commitment was to the masses.
"Our party is committed to the masses. We had opposed when we had observed that certain policies like FDI in retail, Lokayukta clause in Lokpal bill and price rise of fuel will hurt the common man. We have to speak out when we see that the common man is suffering," said Banerjee.

Banerjee alleged that the Congress has been neglecting its main ally Trinamool though heavily dependent on its 20 members in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha to run the UPA government.

"We had never asked for anything. We have one cabinet minister and six ministers of state. They don`t allow our ministers of state to function properly," she said.

The Trinamool is running an alliance in the state with the Congress - though it is not dependent on the party, and has repeatedly reminded the Congress leadership in Delhi to follow its dictum or face the consequences.

Banerjee also lashed out at the central government for overlooking the interest of the debt ridden Bengal.

"It has been near about eight months that the state has witnessed a change of guard. The centre is well aware of the financial crisis and the debt. But apart from blank promises we have not received a single penny from the centre," said Banerjee.

"We requested for a tax holiday because 94 percent of the state earnings goes for salaries, interests to the centre and pensions. With the remaining six percent money, it is very tough to run the state but the centre has not agreed for a tax holiday," she said.

Banerjee had warned the central government that if the state doesn`t get its dues, then the people of Bengal know how to get it.


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