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2 Jun 2017

I told you so, give us answers: Mamata

Mamata comes out of a temple in Tarakeswar on Thursday. Picture by Shyamal Maitra
TT, Calcutta, June 1: Mamata Banerjee today attacked the Narendra Modi government saying the decline of the real GDP growth in the January-March quarter to 6.1 per cent had vindicated her stand against demonetisation and demanded answers from "the people" responsible for the "crisis".

"Right at the time demonetisation was announced by the central government, I had voiced my concern that the country would have to face severe loss of jobs and drastic decline in productivity due to demonetisation. My apprehension is now proven to be true," she said in a Facebook post.
She iterated her strand at a meeting in Hooghly's Tarakeswar, claiming to be the first politician in the country to say that the growth in GDP would decline because of demonetisation.
The Trinamul chief had been one of the staunchest critics of demonetisation since it was announced by the Prime Minister on November 8 last year. Mamata had spent months trying to generate a major movement against the decision, recognising it as pivotal to her national ambition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Eventually, the Congress and several other Opposition parties had joined the chorus nationally.
But since the BJP's thumping victory in Uttar Pradesh and other states, Mamata had maintained a relative silence on the issue.
Now with the plunge in the GDP growth rate, the chief minister today renewed her attack on the Centre and the BJP over demonetisation.
"The Q4 GDP figure this fiscal has come down to 6.1 per cent. The corresponding GDP figure in the previous fiscal was 7.9 per cent. So, the decline is nearly 2 per cent point," she said in the Facebook post.
Real GDP growth in the full year, according to the data published yesterday, also shrank to 7.1 per cent, the slowest since Modi assumed office three years ago. Last year, the real GDP growth was 8 per cent.
"Rampant job loss has been reported across the country with the agriculture and unorganised sector in worst shape. What have the people, who pushed the country to this crisis, to say?" she asked.
Mamata also referred to "bovine politics" to attack the BJP.
She said the BJP - which got "only 29 per cent" of the votes in 2014 - was trying to bulldoze the will of the people across the country and questioned the party's right to dictate terms regarding personal choices.
"After countless incidents of lynching and murdering farmers for merely transporting cattle, they are trying to exempt buffaloes and their meat from the unilateral, arbitrary order against sale of cattle for slaughter.... This is because some people close to the BJP are involved in the buffalo business," she said at the meeting in Tarakeswar.
Accusing the BJP-RSS parivar of having little knowledge of Bengal, its people and culture, Mamata condemned alleged efforts to divide the people in the state and import a brand of Hinduism that is alien to the state.
The state BJP leadership was, however, unwilling to attach much importance to Mamata's remarks.
"She should spend her time trying to run the state properly rather than wasting her time thinking about the country and national politics, where she has no foothold," said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh.

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