In what could be almost construed as a softening in her stand on the recent 15-day ultimatum to the Centre, to announce a three-year moratorium on repayment of interest on loans by her government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Monday that her “appeal” had been put across by a section of the media as a “threat”.
“I had said at the meeting that I am appealing to the government (Centre) but you referred to it as a threat,” she told reporters at the State Secretariat. “There is a lot of difference between an appeal and a threat.”
Urging the media to confine its reporting to “only what I say,” she said that henceforth her government would “keep a record” of all that she said to the media. “In the name of breaking news, what is the point of providing false news,” Ms. Banerjee asked.
Addressing a meeting of the State's civil service cadres in the city's Town Hall on April 21, the Chief Minister had come down strongly on the Centre for failing to extend a financial package, or at least a three-year moratorium on repayment of interest on loans that her government had inherited from the Left Front regime.
Her government, she said, wouldn't tolerate “starving it of funds”. “This will become a big issue,” she had warned.
Ms. Banerjee had been consistently critical of the Centre for failing to bail the State out of its financial distress — something that she has been harping on since she took charge as Chief Minister eleven months ago. At every public meeting, she has pointed out that while her government's annual revenue was Rs 21,000 crore, it had to spend Rs 22,000 crore on repayment of interest on loans annually.