TMC government clone of previous Left Front regime: Sitharaman

Kolkata, Mar 18 (PTI)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday accused the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of being a “clone” of the previous Left Front regime, and alleged that she was following the same “repressive” measures adopted by her predecessors.

Likening her with Goddess Durga, she said Banerjee fought the “demons” of the 34-year-long Left Front government in the state, and also atrocities by her own workers when she was in the Congress

“The amount of violence she had to go through during her Youth Congress days and from the Communists, she is making everyone suffer the same,” Sitharaman said, while asking her if “is this the politics you want to do? Is this ‘parivartan’ (change)?”

Claiming that the Left Front rule was a “waste” as nothing improved in the state, the minister said the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government has also “failed” to fulfil aspirations of the people of West Bengal, which was once the foremost in the country in every field.

“The TMC rule in the state is a clone of the previous Communist regime,” she said, questioning whether the people of the state “voted for such poor cloning”. Alleging that Banerjee was not “cooperating” with the country’s own government, she asked, “Is the central government of our own or of some other country?”

Sitharaman said the TMC supremo accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “suit boot ki sarkar wooing industry bigwigs”, while Banerjee herself was asking for investments from them with “folded hands”.

The defence minister claimed there is misrule and lack of law and order in the state, and “nobody wants to come to Bengal, despite so many global investment meets”.

Criticising the chief minister over the Balakot air strike, she asked her: “Are you with India, nationalist Indians, or are you helping our enemies?” Observing that the scars of partition and atrocities of the Pakistan Army in erstwhile East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh, is still evident among those who were displaced, she alleged that the TMC is “helping the same Pakistan by questioning India’s strike on terror camps at Balakot”.

Commenting on BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to the state, Sitharaman wondered whether the chief minister was “afraid” of it. “You are the CM here, what are you afraid of?”

She also claimed that the TMC had not allowed opposition party candidates to file nominations in the 2018 panchayat polls in the state. The TMC won 30 per cent seats in the state uncontested, Sitharaman added.

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