In the latest string of attacks, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that Narendra Modi becoming prime minister is a ‘fantasy’.
The Trinamool Congress chief also said that a Federal Front government would be formed after the elections. “His (Modi) becoming a prime minister is a fantasy. So, I don’t need to answer this hypothetical question,” said Banerjee during a PTI interview when asked if she expected better financial treatment in the event of Modi becoming the prime minister.
She added, “Bengal does not need to go with a begging bowl. We are only asking for what is due to us. The demand for moratorium is not new. Even before the 2011 elections, the prime minister had promised to restructure Bengal’s burden created by three decades of Left rule.”
“My finance minister and I have had so many meetings but they did not do anything. They did not keep their promise,” said the West Bengal CM.
On the comparisons between Gujarat and West Bengal, Banerjee said, “Comparing Gujarat with Bengal is like comparing a rich, privileged child to an undernourished, neglected one. Some people are talking about the Gujarat model. I must tell you there cannot be any comparison. Gujarat has been developing even before the chief minister. In fact, the growth rate has declined during his tenure.”
Banerjee further said she had a lot of love for the people of Gujarat. “Look at our population density and compare. They have 19 ports, we have only two. Even then the Bengal model is far better,” she said.
When asked how different her approach was from the Congress on protecting the rights of minorities, she listed 57 lakh scholarships to minority students and Urdu medium schools.
Alleging that both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party appeased religious groups during election, Banerjee recalled how a well-wisher had once told her how TMC stood for temple, mosque and church. “I said no. Trinamool stands for development and dedication to the people. We work for all.”
She said, “Let me give you an example of how the Congress and BJP say something and do something else. They have talked about 33 per cent reservation for women in the Women’s Reservation Bill. Do you know what percentage of their candidates are women? The BJP has only eight per cent women candidates, while the Congress has 14 per cent. The Trinamool Congress is proud to have 27 per cent women candidates. Our manifesto is for the people, of the people and by the people.”
She also referred to establishment of fair price shops, web-based procurement policy of medicines, PPP and IT, besides the Kanyashree programme to stop child marriage with unmarried girl students getting a grant of Rs 500 per year up to the age of 18 and a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 if they pursue higher education.
“We have done more in 34 months than what the Communists have done in 34 years. Our development model is tried and tested in Bengal. It can be implemented in other states as well. This is true federal structure,” she added.