Modi organised riots and killing of people: Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee   | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accusing him of “orchestrating riots and killing people” to come to power, minutes after Mr. Modi had at a public rally in Durgapur charged the Trinamool Congress chief with running extortion rackets in the State.

Describing Mr. Modi as the “grandfather of corruption,” she told a Bengali television channel in an interview that the Prime Minister had triggered “a politics of vendetta”.

If the first day of Mr. Modi’s campaign in the State is any indication, West Bengal is set to witness a bitter, no-holds-barred battle between the BJP leader and Ms. Banerjee in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

In his speech, Mr. Modi accused the Chief Minister of “trying to block CBI investigations in the State”.

“He was interrogated because he orchestrated a riot and killed people, it is a fact,” Ms. Banerjee said. “Godhra happened in Gujarat, everybody knows. He now says, he will interrogate people because he was interrogated… what kind of logic is that? He was guilty so he was interrogated… this is politics of vendetta.”

However, she was conciliatory when talking about Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Asked about a comment by Mr. Singh blaming the State government of inaction in checking illegal immigration, Ms. Banerjee said he had no option but to say what Mr. Modi and Amit Shah wanted him to say.

“Mr. Singh is helpless. He has no option but to repeat whatever they [Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah] want him to say. I do not know whether I should say this and perhaps it is not … they are also framing Rajnath’s son. They have filed FIR against him [Rajnath’s son]. Whatever they [Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah] want you to say... [you] have to say, that is the policy,” Ms. Banerjee asserted.

On corruption, she countered that it would be Mr. Modi who would face probes over issues like demonetisation and the Jan Dhan scheme, once he was out of power. “The truth will be out,” she said, adding that in order to cover up “corrupt activities”, Mr. Modi was engaging in syndicates of his own.

“These are syndicates of lynchings, cow vigilantes, syndicates of [investigative] agencies and syndicates of riots. However we will not allow them to orchestrate riots in Bengal and make Bengalis fight the Bengalis, or divide Hindus and Muslims,” she asserted.

We will not let them disturb Assam and the northeastern region or let them push Biharis or people from Uttar Pradesh out of the State [of Gujarat]…India will not get divided, rather he [Mr. Modi] will go,” she said.

“They ask about Saradha and Narada scams, which will not be proved; I would like to ask why chit funds were not investigated between 1980 and 2011,” she said. Referring to Mr. Modi’s jibe that the Opposition was scared of his anti-corruption stand and therefore uniting against him, Ms. Banerjee contended that on the contrary the “BJP is scared” and bringing leaders from across the country to fight her in West Bengal.

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Printable version | May 24, 2020 3:49:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/modi-organised-riots-and-killing-of-people-mamata-banerjee/article26163720.ece

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