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  • Mamata Banerjee Exclusive – Headlines Today

    Published on November 18, 2014

    New Delhi:  West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee has broken her silence on the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam which has brought her government under the scanner. In an exclusive interview to Headlines Today,Ms Banerjee claims that she has nothing to hide. Asked whether she was close to the Saradha group, “who said? First you have to prove, you have to show the evidence. You have to prove it, I will resign if you prove it.” When further pressed on whether she would resign if links were shown, she said, “Yes, but prove it first.” She further claimed that the chit fund scam had its origins in the left front government. “It is CPM’s time, Left Front’s time,  not our times. We arrested the man. We set up the judicial commission. We returned the money to 5 lakh individuals. This is absolutely wrong to blame us,” she said.

    Ms Banerjee also spoke out on the possibility of a national platform against the BJP which could include the left. “This is like a common minimum programme. We can come together against communal forces to protect secularism.” She, however, made it clear that this alliance could be at the national level, not in Bengal. “Left is finished in Bengal. Their ideology is different. We are different.” She, however, added, “Nitish and Lalu  came together in Bihar and we have seen the results, if they stay together, the BJP will lose the election . If Mayawatiji and Mulayam Singh in UP , BJP will lose the election . In Maharashtra, you have seen secular forces were not together because of  Sharad Pawar, and they lost.” She said the Congress needed to take the lead to form a secular alliance. “If  Congress and regional forces had come together, BJP would not have won the 2014 elections.”

    Without naming prime  minister Narendra Modi directly, Mamata said, “I don’t believe in selfie-style of selfie/selfish politics – I believe if you want to do the good thing – the people will give you the recognition.” She was dismissive of  the prime minister’s Swacha Bharat programme. “sanitation is an old programme, 90 per cent of  the money I am told is coming from programmes that already exist.” She was also dismissive of  the Modi government’s plan to allow 100 per cent FDI in certain key railway departments. “You think this is reform? Railways are the lifeline of  the country. In the name of quality, you are selling the country, why do you need outsiders?”

    Ms Banerjee also spoke on the Burdwan terror plot and accusations that her government was soft on jehadi terror. “This is all the BJP and RSS propaganda, they want to divide the country. My police arrested those involved in the plot, not NIA.” On reports of rising infiltration from across the Bangladesh border, she said: “Whose responsibility is it? Border is Centre’s jurisdiction, they must take responsibility.”

    On reports that BJP president Amit Shah had made Bengal his next target ahead of  the 2016 elections, Mamata said, “Who is this Amit Shah? I don’t know this man… I know Vajpayeeji, Advaniji, RajnathSinghji, Sushma and Arun Jaitley. In Bengal they will make no headway, even though they have spent a lot of money. Even the media has been purchased by them.”

    Asked on her nephew Abhishek Banerjee being propped up within the party, she said, “He is my party worker, he is not there because he is my nephew. I don’t consider him a family member”