Hindustan Times, Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a rally in Midnapore district on Monday.(PTI)



West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday alleging that it has turned into a bank for robbers to safely deposit their loot and accused it of using money power to break other parties and topple governments.

“It has become a fashion to join BJP because the party is like a bank where lootere (robbers) can deposit the wealth they have accumulated. The BJP gives protection to such people. It is like an identity card,” Banerjee said in West Midnapore.

She also attacked the Centre over the contentious farm laws and disinvestment policy and said either the farm laws should be rolled back or the BJP should quit. She also demanded a white paper on PM CARES Fund.

The TMC chief while lending her full support to Bharat bandh called by the farmers directed her party to organize demonstrations across the state from Tuesday. Protests would also be staged in Kolkata.

“The BJP should either roll back farm laws or quit. The entire country is speaking on the same lines,” said while attacking the BJP for its privatization policy.

She also took on the CPI(M) and the Congress alleging that the two parties are helping the BJP in West Bengal. She said women would hit the streets with cooking utensils to stop “outsiders”.

“I would urge all party workers and the people to watch out for outsiders in your localities who are distributing money. Take the money from the BJP as it public money and vote for the TMC. I won’t be able to say these before the elections as it would be against the Model Code of Conduct. So I am saying it now,” she said.

Although the BJP was her main target, all eyes were on Banerjee for a different reason. It was her first rally in West Midnapore where Suvendu Adhikari a TMC heavyweight and a former minister has a strong support. Adhikari’s rift with the party has widened over the past few weeks.

While she did not mention Adhikari, none from the Adhikar family, including Suvendu Adhikari himself, his father Sisir Adhikari and brother Dibyendu Adhikari – both TMC MPs – were present in the rally. Local TMC leaders close to Adhikari also didn’t turn up.

She also took a swipe at the BJP’s Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh’s recent remark that the saffron party would turn Bengal into another Gujarat by emulating the western state’s growth model.

“I won’t allow Bengal to become Gujarat. I would rather remain in jail than shake hands with the BJP and be branded a traitor,” she said. “The BJP is using central investigating agencies to scare people.”

The BJP hit back saying that Banerjee’s allegations are nothing new and that they had got the answer in 2019.

“The TMC has no issues and hence bringing baseless allegations. They had raised similar allegations in 2019. They got the people’s response. They will again get the response from the people in 2021,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP spokesperson in West Bengal.