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We want a Prime Minister who works for the poor: Mamata

"We have the ability to fight. We have the spine to take on the BJP. They don't have an erect spine. Their spine is the ED, CBI, and Income Tax department," she said.

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Kolkata: Without naming Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the country should have a prime minister who works for the poor, and not for the rich, and prophesied that all opposition parties would come together after the BJP’s ouster in the 2024 elections.

Addressing the Trinamool’s Martyrs’ Day rally, Banerjee said, “Like a torrent of rains, a torrent of people will ensure the BJP faces a washout in India in 2024.

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“I am confident the BJP will not get a single majority in the 2024 (Lok Sabha polls), which will be a vote for rejection and not for re-election. And when that happens, all opposition parties will have to be united and form a government. However, it is my belief that we will come on top when that happens.”

Accusing the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the centre of “monumental incompetence”, the TMC supremo asked the people to “break free of the shackles” of the BJP and install a “pro-people” government. “We want a prime minister who works for the poor, not a prime minister who works for the rich,” she said in a veiled attack on PM Modi.
Charging the BJP with trying to break the state governments run by the opposition parties everywhere, she said: “They have taken this as their job. In West Bengal also they used various ploys to defeat us (in last year’s Assembly polls), but could not succeed.”

“They think, now that they’ve broken Mumbai, they will break Chhattisgarh and then Bengal. I warn them. Don’t come here. There is a huge Royal Bengal Tiger here.”

Banerjee alleged that BJP did not have the backbone to fight her party politically, and so it was using various central agencies to disturb her government.

“We have the ability to fight. We have the spine to take on the BJP. They don’t have an erect spine. Their spine is the ED, CBI, and Income Tax department,” she said.

Banerjee slammed BJP for hiking GST on various items including food, and asked, “What will people eat?”

Hitting out at the Centre over the revised GST rates, the chief minister infused drama as she showed the rally some puffed rice on a tray and said “there is GST on the smallest of items nowadays”.

“We are simple people who eat simple food and the BJP is even taking that away from us. GST is even imposed when a patient is hospitalised: Not only that, look at where the rupee stands now,” she said, referring to the constant devaluation of the rupee against the dollar.

She then displayed an LPG cylinder on the stage, and said: “Look at the cost of LPG cylinders now (cooking gas). Look at fuel prices”.

The TMC supremo alleged the BJP has destroyed the country’s economy and social fabric, “Not only that, but they are also affecting the Indian Army through the Agnipath scheme. It is nothing but an attempt to create a cadre for their party. There is no need to have a government which increases prices of fuel and LPG cylinders,” she said.

“Do not insult the Indian Army. What is Agnipath? Will the youth of our country work as a BJP party cadre? Do you have absolutely no respect for the youth of our nation?” the TMC head said.

She alleged the BJP government at the Centre has sold everything — Air India, Coal India, Railways. “All they have done is sell every asset of the country because they have no idea how difficult attaining Independence was. And now, with the Agnipath scheme, they want to do the same with the Indian Army.”

Banerjee claimed poverty and unemployment have gone down in Bengal; unlike in the rest of the country.

She said the Centre has also recognised Bengal’s numero uno position as far as the income of peasants is concerned.

“We have ensured development on all fronts — from setting up IT hubs to making roads across the state. Whenever we try going ahead with developmental work, the BJP simply comes forth with its own agendas, trying to stop us,” Banerjee said.

“However, remember, they will never be able to stop me and my party,” she told the mammoth gathering.

“People of Bengal walk with their heads held high, we will never bow down to an autocratic force,” Banerjee said.

The chief minister said, addressing BJP, “Clear the MGNREGA funds. Stop depriving people who work hard! Stop denying people their basic rights.” 

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