Meghdeep Bhattacharyya, TT, Calcutta, March 17: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today termed "unfortunate" Calcutta High Court's decision to hand over the Narada probe to the CBI and launched an offensive against the BJP, albeit in a mild manner.
"Both my government and the party will go to the higher court for justice.... It is unfortunate," she said at Nabanna, two hours after the high court order.
Within days of offering an olive branch by stressing the need for a proper Centre-state relationship and publicly congratulating the BJP for the victory in Uttar Pradesh, Mamata's gloves came off today.
She said the Supreme Court's attention would be drawn to the fact that several BJP leaders had been saying in public for months that the Narada case would be handed over to the CBI after the Uttar Pradesh election results.
"What the Bengal BJP president (Dilip Ghosh) has been saying in public is on record, that after the UP results, a CBI probe will be ordered.... How did he know? As a lawyer, I am really, really shocked," Mamata said.
Playing the victim card and alleging political vendetta against her and Trinamul for taking an "anti-BJP, pro-people" stand, Mamata accused the BJP of orchestrating a "planned" controversy.
"It was planned. It was planted. The sting was released from the BJP office days before the Assembly elections (in Bengal), although the footage was from 2014," the chief minister said.
Responding to a question on the court order's timing, the Trinamul chief said: "You also understand, I also understand these games."
Mamata said several times that she had the "highest respect" for the judiciary, but kept alleging a political conspiracy, training her guns on the BJP.
After briefing journalists on the formation of a health commission to rein in private health-care facilities, Mamata seemed to welcome questions on the order.
"In election season, people do take donations of a lakh or two. It is allowed even by the Election Commission of India. We have filed our income tax returns, we have been audited, we have given every detail to the commission. Then why, bhai?" she asked.
"In Uttar Pradesh, over a thousand crores were spent, but nobody is being harassed, or even questioned.... Only we commoners can make mistakes. The king is above mistakes and wrongdoing," she added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh.
Mamata supported BSP chief Mayawati's allegation that electronic voting machines had been tampered with in the Uttar Pradesh elections, playing a video on her cellphone of BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy's speech discrediting EVMs.
"Japan manufactures the core components of the EVMs, but they don't use it in their own country. Not the US, not Germany.... I would like the poll panel to convene an all-party meeting and initiate constructive discussion on this subject," Mamata said.
Responding to questions on the possibility of joining an alliance of anti-BJP parties before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, she said she would be "very happy" to do so.
"Of course, I will be very happy if there is such a combined front. If there is any formal proposal, I am there. Absolutely," she said.