Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday threatened to bar the Centre from collecting taxes from the State if it failed to give in to her demand of a three-year moratorium on payment of interest on loans.
Speaking at a rally in Canning in the State’s South 24 Parganas district, Ms. Banerjee told the congregation that the Centre collected Rs. 40,000 crore in taxes from the State and allocated only Rs. 18,000 crore back to the State.
“I will not let you [the Centre] to take away my money… I have patiently waited for a year and seven months. If you continue to take away Rs. 22,000 crores, I will go to Delhi and I know what to do,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee said she had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh several times to discuss the matter. “What else can I do, beat them up? Then you shall say that it is goondaism. Without even doing anything, allegations of goondaism have been made,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee’s remark raised questions whether it was an allusion to comments made by West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan on the political violence in the Bhangar area of the same district that it was “nothing but goondaism.”
Alleging that the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party had all ganged up against her, Ms. Banerjee said her party had brought a no-confidence motion against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the issue of foreign direct investment in retail trade, but had not received any support.
Ms. Banerjee also did not spare the leaders of some Muslim groups, ironically some with whom she had shared the dais during the run up to the 2011 Assembly polls, for their claims that the Chief Minister has failed to live up to the promises made to the minorities. “Before the elections some leaders are blackmailing us by saying we have done nothing for the minorities. Who are these leaders?” They care about none other than their kin,” she said.