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Why Talk About Nitish When We Have Lalu, Sharad and Akhilesh to Fight BJP, Says Mamata

Speaking at 'Rising Bengal-2017, Setting the Development Agenda' event organized by Network18 on Friday in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee said said she didn't want to be a flower, but a vase in the United Front, adding that a collective leadership is required to give shape to a Front.

Sujit Nath |

Updated:August 19, 2017, 2:18 PM IST
Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday took potshots at her Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar saying that it didn't matter if somebody ditched the "United Front" because they still had hundreds of dedicated people such as Lalu Yadav, Sharad Yadav and Akhilesh to take on the ruling BJP.

Speaking at 'Rising Bengal-2017, Setting the Development Agenda’ event organized by Network18 on Friday in Kolkata, the state Chief Minister responding to a question on Nitish Kumar said,
“Why are you thinking of one person? Here we are thinking of hundreds of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.”

When asked why Bengal's pitch for United Front went unheard on the national platform, Mamata said, “Everybody is scared. How can Opposition be powerful? I can sustain the atrocities of Centre that is sending agencies (CBI, ED etc.) to scare our leaders, but others may not.”



Mamata Banerjee criticised the ruling BJP for "sending Sudip  Bandyopadhyay to jail because according to them (BJP) he took money from someone. (Photo:

Mamata also asked everybody to "just wait for six months, you will see the result."

The Bengal chief minister said she didn't want to be a flower, but a vase in the United Front, adding that a collective leadership is required to give shape to a Front.

"I don’t believe in political marketing. There are political parties (hinting at BJP) who sponsor social media to market themselves. But I believe in direct contact with people.”

Hitting out at Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath over his recent "Namaz-Janmashtami" remark, Mamata asked what kind of a statement was that? "So many children have died and UP health minister Siddartha gives delivers big lectures to us whenever he comes to Bengal... How can they call me a Muslim? How can they call Mamata a Christian?They don't want to work for the people of India. They just know how to make enemies," Mamata said.

Mamata criticised the ruling BJP for "sending Sudip Bandyopadhyay to jail because according to them (BJP) he took money from someone." The two-time chief minister alleged that she knew somebody who took Rs 70 Lakh but was given a clean chit by the CBI, asking, "What kind of justice was that?"

"I am happy that I am their number one target. I would like to tell them that I am a hero and not zero. Buri Nazar Wale Tera Muh Kala (a Hindi phrase to ward off evil and jealousy),” Mamata said.

She said BJP gives lectures on Digitization but West Bengal is number one in it. "My government believes in talking less and working more."

Talking about her tenure as the Railway Minister, she said she was often asked why she didn't raise railway fares. "I always maintained that I have to take all sections of the society - all castes, creeds, communities. Similarly, I have to do a balancing act as a chief minister, too. After 34 years of Left Front rule, We had inherited a huge debt of Rs 1.78 lakh crore. Currently, we are reeling under the effects of demonetisation and GST,” the Chief Minister said.

“The GDP of the country has come down from 8% (2015-16) to 7.8 % (2016-17). The GVA growth of the country came down from 8.7% in 2015-16 to 5.6%, during the last quarter of 2016-17. The GVA growth of industry, during the fourth quarter of 2015-16, was 10.3% while during the corresponding period of 2016-17 came down to 3.1%. Employment generation during 2011-13 was 12.8 lakh, while during 2014-16, it came down to 6.4 lakh. Bank credit growth during 2015-16 was 10.3% while during 2016-17 it was only 5.1%,” she said.

While comparing growth figures, Mamata said, “The GVA growth for India was 7.3%, while for Bengal, it was 12.12%, the corresponding figures for growth in agriculture were 1.1% and 5.55%, in industry were 7.3% and 10.59%, and in the service sector were 9.2% and 13.99%, respectively. The growth for Index of Industrial Production (IIP) during 2011-12 was 0.94% while during 2016-17 it was 5.59%. The growth of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) general for Bengal in 2011-12 was 2.14%, while during 2016-17 was 7.27%.”

“Our Kanyashree scheme is not like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, for which you have budgetary allocation of only Rs 100 crore for 29 States and 7 UTs, while for Kanyashree we have spent over Rs 5,000 crore. That is why we have received the UN Public Service Award. The physical infrastructure growth in Bengal is 5.5% more than that in India, agriculture and allied sector growth is 3.5% more, even service sector growth is more than that of India’s. The per capita income of Bengal has doubled from approximately Rs 69,000 to approximately Rs 1.3 lakh in six years,” she said.

Finally, when asked considering today’s situation in India, what portrait she would like to paint, Mamata said, “I would like to paint pigeons flying over a green field."

| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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