KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a fresh attack on the Centre over the Pegasus snooping controversy on Wednesday. She alleged that BJP is trying to turn India into a state under surveillance and urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance to save democracy. Displaying her cell phone with both rear and front cameras covered by tape, she said the BJP-led government’s fate should also be sealed in the 2024 general elections.
“In place of democracy, there is surveillance across the country. The BJP-led Centre is trying to turn the country into a state under surveillance. Even Supreme Court judges and their own ministers are not spared. I appeal to the judges of Supreme Court to consider taking up the Pegasus snooping issue as a suo motu case. Only judiciary can save the country,’’ she said.
Mamata alleged that BJP used its all powers — money, mafia and muscle — to win the Bengal Assembly elections. “BJP’s motto is capture elections, capture the judiciary and capture media houses. They also engaged all central agencies. Central ministers started travelling to Bengal like daily passengers. The Election Commission office acted as BJP’s party office. But their efforts proved futile as the voters of Bengal refused their narrative of dividing people on the line of religion. If they think they will win elections by snooping, it will not work,’’ she said.
The Bengal CM lambasted the saffron camp on several issues ranging from handling of Covid-19 to constant rise in petroleum products. “The way the government handled the Covid situation was a monumental failure. Four lakh people died of Covid. In Uttar Pradesh, bodies of victims were thrown into the Ganges. Bodies were recovered in Bengal and we performed cremations following all rituals. And he (Narendra Modi) labelled UP as the best state,’’ Mamata said without mentioning the Prime Minister’s name.
Hitting out at the Centre for the price of petroleum products, she urged her party workers to stage protests. “The Centre earned `3.7 lakh crore from petroleum products which came from the pocket of the common people. Where has the PM Cares fund gone?’’
Taking a jibe at Modi’s Mann Ki Baat, Mamata said, “Mohabbat kaam se hote hain, mann ki baat se nehin (work is done with love, not with Mann Ki Baat). If the event was for the betterment of people, it would have been alright. But if it is aimed at serving political purposes, it will not work.’’
Two dead returning from screening of TMC rally
A TMC supporter died of gun shot and an elderly woman fell victim of a stampede in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, while returning from the screening of Mamata Banerjee’s virtual address at the party’s Martyr’s Day rally. Police are yet to ascertain whether this was a fallout of the ruling party’s infighting. “Suddenly there was firing. The woman died in the stampede that followed,” police said.