Mamata begins poll campaign, says India needs ‘people’s government’

Kolkata: Kickstarting her party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign on International Women’s Day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday launched a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government, saying that it had reached its “expiry date” and that the country needs a “people’s government” for future years.

She accused the Centre of showing off its military prowess and playing war games to influence people ahead of the forthcoming general elections, and claimed that the new government formed by the opposition parties will fight against terrorism and reinstate peace in the Kashmir Valley.

“Elections are near. So now they (Centre) are busy showing off the missiles and playing war games. Your expiry date has come. The new government will fight terrorism and bring back peace in Kashmir.

“It is our promise to reinstate peace and harmony in the country. All of us will do it together,” Banerjee said at a rally in central Kolkata’s Dorina Crossing.

“So many incidents of terror strikes like Pathankot, Uri, Pulwama took place in the last five years. Where was the government then? Remember, the country needs a people’s government. It needs a united India government,” she said, referring to the anti-BJP alliance.

Coming down heavily on the Centre for saying that the documents related to the Rafale fighter jet deal have been stolen, she questioned whether documents related to the country’s internal security have also been misplaced.

She wondered how the Central government could ensure the nation’s security when it cannot protect simple documents.

“They are saying Rafale documents have been stolen. Has the nation’s internal security documents also been stolen? When you cannot protect Rafale documents then how will you provide security to the country?” the Trinamool Congress supremo asked.

Renewing her attack on the Prime Minister, Banerjee said Modi has stolen the nation’s property and destroyed all the institutions in the country and raised the slogan of ‘Modi hatao Desh Bachao’ (oust Modi, save the nation).

“You (Modi) have stolen the entire country. What is left of it? When you are removed from power, the country would come to know how you have stolen all our assets. All the institutions are destroyed. Such is the situation that the RBI chief had to resign and the CBI chief was forced to leave.

“Only Modi-bhai campaign is going on,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee, accompanied by senior women leaders of her party walked from central Kolkata’s Sradhananda Park to Esplanade to celebrate the power of womanhood on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“I congratulate all the mothers and sisters on International Women’s Day. I strongly condemn the atrocities on Dalits, tribals, women, minorities and farmers in the name of lynching,” Banerjee said.

“Bengal has highest respect for women. Trinamool Congress is the only party where 35 per cent of its elected members in Parliament are women. In the coming elections, we will make sure that more than 35 percent of our candidates are women,” she added.