KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has claimed that the BJP tried to topple her government and replace her with a puppet Chief Minister from within the Trinamool Congress just before the 2016 Assembly elections.
In a rare interview with a Bengali news channel, the Trinamool supremo said that Narada sting was linked with that attempted coup and was accordingly released just before the State went to elections in April 2016. “Just before the 2016 elections, the ruling party in the Centre tried to turn a huge chunk of at least 130 to 160 MLAs against me and topple my government with a puppet government, who would have been led by one from my own party. However, as those hatching the conspiracy have themselves accepted their role in front of me, I would not want to bring more shame to them by taking their names in front of the people of the state,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee had stopped giving personal interviews to any media for a long time which makes this interaction even more important. In the interview, she also indicated that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath may one day topple the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “One day Yogi Adityanath may topple Narendra Modi and become the Prime Minister like the BJP tried to topple me,” the Trinamool supremo said.
Mamata also defended ministers and leaders of her party who were caught accepting money in the Narada sting stating that there was nothing unusual in party leaders accepting money for party funds before elections and it necessarily does not indicate that they are indulged in corruption. She also took strong opposition to the way the Narada sting footage was released by BJP in a press conference.
The Trinamool supremo also assured that people may not worry about the future of the party after her because ‘TMC has grown four generations of leaders’. “We maintain a balance between the young and the old. We have groomed a lot of leaders to take over from where we leave,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee also stood beside controversial poet Srijato Bandopadhyay who was booked with non-bailable sections for a poem on Yogi Adityanath. “I have heard that non-bailable charges have been slapped on Srijato. I assure that nothing will happen to him. He has faced severe threats from the saffron brigade in West Bengal and I will make sure that he does not receive even a scratch from them,” she added.