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30 Jun 2017

Mamata GST & hill attack on Centre

Mamata holds a baby in her arms as his parents look on at the meeting in
Burdwan town on Thursday. Picture by Partha Protim Koner
TT, June 29: Mamata Banerjee today continued with her attack against the Centre and the BJP, starting with the handling of the goods and services tax (GST) and then referring to the unrest in the Darjeeling hills and Kashmir.
At a public meeting in Burdwan East, in an administrative review meeting for the district later and on the social media in between, the Trinamul chief launched an all-out attack on the Narendra Modi government and the BJP camp - the first notable instance after a period of relative quiet since her meeting with the Prime Minister earlier this month.
"People are still suffering because of demonetisation and they are piling on the GST now. We were in favour of the GST once, but a lot of things have been changed since then. The changes are unacceptable to us," Mamata said.
"We requested them not to implement it in a hurry, but they did not listen," she added, a day after she announced that her party would abstain from the midnight spectacle the Centre has planned on Friday to celebrate the launch of the GST, calling it "another epic blunder" after demonetisation.
Even at the administrative review meeting, Mamata kept referring to the Centre to allege mishandling of governance and step-motherly treatment of Bengal.
"Those not willing to take the GST or other things lying down are being targeted with central agencies. We do not fear agencies, we only fear the people," Mamata said.
Her comments about "central agencies" came in the wake of the CBI issuing summons to Trinamul leaders Iqbal Ahmed and Sultan Ahmed in connection with the Narada payoffs case.
Apart from GST, the chief minister brought up other issues to attack the Centre.
"A dictatorship is on. All attempts are being made to murder democracy," she said. "Such mistakes are being made because of a fundamental misconception. They think they will rule forever. Only democracy, only the people will rule forever."
Going on to accuse the Centre of fomenting tension in the Darjeeling hills and attempting a division of Bengal, she said she would resist such alleged moves until the last.
"Kashmir is burning. You have made a mess trying to handle Kashmir. A total failure there, but still you are peeping into Darjeeling now, trying to set it on fire and divide us," she said.
This is the first time Mamata - who had alleged a "deep-rooted conspiracy" at play in the hills - publicly blamed the BJP and the Centre for the Darjeeling unrest.
"I am not going to let Bengal be divided in this lifetime.... Whatever the people want, we will give within our means. But the division will not happen, not happen, not happen," she said.

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