Amid cretisism of the demonetisation by the opposition, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee once again attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi featuring a new demand- that he should quit and make way for a ‘national government’ to be headed by senior BJP leader LK Advani or Finance Minister Arun Jaitley or Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Banerjee, furious over the arrest of her party lawmakers in a ponzi scam, urged President Pranab Mukherjee to step in and “save the country from Narendra Modi”.
“It is high time the President intervened and saved the country. That person (PM Modi) can’t lead the nation. He should step down. There should be a national government,” said the Chief Minister, adding that all opposition parties should sink their differences and come together to save the nation.
The comments come a day after the President said that the notes ban announced on November 8 could lead to a temporary economic slowdown.
Praising the statement, Banerjee said:
“I have never seen such a vindictive government at the Centre. They are breaking age-old institutions like the Planning Commission and others. They are breaking the backbone of the government.”
Alleging that the Central government had let loose a “reign of terror” on those critical of its policies, she claimed that the ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes had led to a loss of Rs. 5,500 crore to her state.
Banerjee has accused the Centre of using the CBI to target her party men as revenge for her aggressive campaign against the notes ban.
The Trinamool Congress chief also compared the Prime Minister to the legend of Kalidas and reiterated that his government’s decision to ban high-value currency notes has affected the common man. “He has cut off the branch he is sitting on,” Ms Banerjee said referring to the story of Kalidas who saws off the branch of a tree that he is sitting on and falls crashing to the ground.
The BJP said the Chief Minister’s comments on the prime minister were preposterous. “Is there any such provision in our constitution? She is under the obligation of protecting the constitution as she has taken an oath to do so. India has survived good times and bad times because of the constitution. Now Ms. Banerjee is trying to distort the constitution and it is preposterous,” West Bengal BJP Vice-President and spokesperson Jay Prakash Majumdar said.
Majumdar also added that Modi was made the prime minister after BJP-led NDA government won the 2014 general elections.
“Narendra Modi is not Prime Minister because of her mercy. There is a system and that system has elected him. The party that wins the maximum seats elects its leader as PM. Mamata Banerjee can dream on but she cannot become Prime Minister. But that same system has elected her as Chief Minister of the state,” Mr Mazumdar added.
Trinamool lawmakers Tapas Pal and Sudip Bandyopadhyay were arrested in quick succession recently in connection with the “Rose Valley scam” worth 15,000 crores, in which lakhs of small investors were tricked out of their money.
After Bandyopadhyay’s arrest, the BJP office in Hooghly, 60 km from Kolkata, was set on fire. A bomb was also thrown at the home of BJP leader Krishna Bhattacharya.
Banerjee called the arrests “Trinamool-bandi after note-bandi” and said they are intended to intimidate her into calling off her campaign.