PATNA: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday gunned for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led NDA over the demonetisation exercise,
calling it a big scam and a measure to promote corruption.
While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) stayed away from Banerjee’s rally, RJD, which is JD(U)’s ally in the state government, lent uneasy support to the agitation against the BJP-led central
government. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his two sons, who are ministers in the Bihar government, stayed off the event. Only RJD state president Ramchandra Purve and RJD national vice-president
Raghuvansh Singh, a former Union rural development minister and known critic of Nitish Kumar, attended the rally.
“With demonetisation, he (PM) has projected all the people in the country as possessors of black money and brought them untold crises in their everyday lives. In the name of cleaning up black money from
the economy, he has helped big businesses. He should first flush out all the black money that is with BJP leaders,” said Banerjee, without naming Modi.
“I respect Lalujee. He has supported my initiative against anti-people measures. I had two options before me – to stay with the Centre on demonetisation or to stay with the people. I chose to stay with the people because they are suffering. Demonetisation is not an attack on black money. It is an attack on the common people,” she added.
Banerjee, who reached Patna on Tuesday evening and is getting treatment as a state guest, had visited RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s residence and invited him to attend her rally. Yadav had reportedly
promised to be beside her, but he later deputed two senior leaders of his party. Banerjee, who is putting up in a building close to CM Nitish Kumar’s residence, had also called him up seeking his
attendance. But Kumar had told her that neither he nor anyone from JD(U) would attend the event.
As Banerjee’s rally was in progress, the women’s wing of the state BJP took out a signature collection march in favour of demonetisation in Patna and burnt her effigies. “Why is Mamata Banerjee and the
other leaders against such a big anti-corruption measure? We are warning them. We will not let Banerjee enter Bihar the next times she comes. We will stop her at the airport,” said Usha Vidyarthi, a senior
BJP leader and ex-MLA.
“Nitish Kumar should have supported the campaign against demonetisation. By not doing so, he is doing a disservice to the people,” said Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.