Kolkata: Launching an all-out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said the time for his exit has come, with only a month to go for the announcement of fresh Lok Sabha polls, but he was not “mentally ready” to go.
“The bell has tolled for him, his exit. His expiry date has come… He knows his exist is not far. But he is not mentally ready to go,” Banerjee said in her reaction to Modi’s stinging attack on her and the state government at two rally speeches in the state during the day.
Banerjee accused Modi of lacking the courtesy that behoves a person occupying the prime minister’s chair. “He does not know as prime minister what he should say and what he shouldn’t. Look at his pride, arrogance”.
Banerjee said during the nearly five years of Modi’s rule, people have been oppressed and tortured through agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
“No opposition leader in the country is in peace. They are all surrounded by agencies, as the present regime in Delhi is behaving like Hitler and adopting fascist means to keep everybody mum,” she said.
Asked about Modi’s comments that the CBI had grilled him for nine hours in relation to the Gujarat riots when the Congress-led UPA was in power at the centre, the chief minister said: “Just because he has been quizzed by CBI, does that mean he also has to get everybody grilled by CBI? There is a limit to vengeance.”
Banerjee referred to the killing of former Gujarat home minister Heren Pandya in 2003, and said he was a victim of “vindictiveness”.
On Modi’s description of the January 19 public meeting of opposition leaders here as the coming together of those with “charges of corruption against them and their relatives”, Banerjee said “Chorer mayer boro gola (the mother of a thief shouts the most).”
Countering Modi’s claim that the Trinamool’s rule in Bengal was nearing its end, Banerjee shot back: “He shouldn’t think about us. We have over two years left in office. First there will be a change in Delhi. Our first priority is to remove him from power. Whether our government will remain or not after two years, people of Bengal will decide”.
Banerjee said the BJP has no moral right to raise a finger at other parties. “All political parties are now united against the BJP. When all democratic institutions are crippled or terrorised, then all people come together.”
Ridiculing the state BJP for bringing leaders from other states for rallies, she said “They don’t have a single leader here. They have to import leaders for meetings”.
Questioning the source of BJP’s funds, she said “Earlier, they were poor. Now they have shopping mall-like party offices. What is the value of their property in India and abroad?”
Banerjee said nothing substantial would come out of probes into the Saradha ponzi scam and the Narada sting footage. A number of Trinamool leaders have been arrested or grilled in connection with the probe into the two cases.
“There are people (in other cases) who have taken thousands of crores. The pot should not call the kettle black.”
Banerjee also claimed that Modi never sold tea, though “he has come to power claiming he was a chai wala (tea seller)”.