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31 Dec 2016

Arrest fails to distract Didi

Devadeep Purohit, TT, Calcutta, Dec. 30: Mamata Banerjee today dared Narendra Modi to arrest her and demanded an apology from him, his resignation and finally a national government in New Delhi.
The rapid-fire response came as the close of the 50-day deadline the Prime Minister had set for post-demonetisation normality coincided with the arrest of Trinamul MP Tapas Paul by the CBI for alleged involvement in a case linked to Rose Valley, a group that used to collect deposits. 
"Political vendetta has reached a new low... Modibabu, arrest all my MPs and MLAs if you want. You can arrest me as well, it will give me some time to relax and write books," Mamata told a news conference this evening.
The word of Paul's arrest was leaked a few hours before Mamata addressed reporters at the pre-scheduled event but the chief minister stuck to the script of projecting herself as the principal critic of Modi after suggesting that she had already factored in the possibility of perceived retributive action.
Backed by a massive mandate in the Assembly elections and looking unfazed, Mamata said of the arrest: "This doesn't bother me.... I was expecting this as we are opposing demonetisation. These agencies get instructions from the Prime Minister's Office and the BJP office."
She flashed a bunch of papers, claiming she knew who else would get summons in future and what questions they would face. "You don't have to summon us, we are ready," Mamata said.
Mamata added a new dimension to the confrontation on demonetisation by proposing a national government - which involves representatives from various political parties - and taking care to draw a distinction between Modi and his party.
"Someone else from the BJP can also become the Prime Minister.... I am pleading that there should be a national government and I would soon place the demand before the President. The country is not safe under this government," Mamata said.
Although Mamata did not spend much time defending Paul, a political lightweight, she named two BJP politicians - junior heavy industries minister Babul Supriyo and Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly - as alleged beneficiaries of hospitality from the Rose Valley Group.
The CBI has sent summons to Trinamul MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay in connection with the Rose Valley case. Sources said that some more Trinamul leaders and party sympathisers would be called over the next few weeks.

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