In an exclusive interview with Network 18 editor in chief Rahul Joshi, Mamata Banerjee expressed her confidence in the breaking of NDA and UPA government in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Mamata Banerjee targeted the ruling party and alleged BJP of not putting in efforts to improve the situation of farmers all across the country. She said in the interview that TMC will retain its third position in the parties and will emerge victorious in West Bengal.
When asked about the TMC stand in politics in the year 2019 Lok Sabha election importance and its stay as a national party, Mamata said that there is no question of breaking for TMC as it has now become a national party like Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). She said confidently that BJP will lose its two seats in Bengal. She said that TMC is not focused on winning and losing. The only priority is to save the nation from corrupt parties.
Mamata Banerjee spoke about the achievements in West Bengal saying that the state has seen a major improvement in the farmer’s incomes that have tripled. The mutation fees have already been waived off in Bengal. Khajna tax is abolished. According to the Kisan Bandhu scheme, 5000 allowances are given to the farmers. 2 lakh insurance is given to the farmers who died.
On the response to the issues faced by the West Bengal on the ground level and what her party’s campaign issues are, West Bengal chief minister replied saying that these are the Lok Sabha elections and not the assembly elections where the party should talk about the state’s issues in its campaign. She said that the only issue we are talking about is that Narendra Modi has failed to fulfill the promises made in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Applauding her government, Mamata claimed that only her government has fulfilled all promises in the manifesto in West Bengal.
In the interview, Mamata Banerjee hit Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemning him for his fake promises. She said that twelve thousand farmers have committed suicide in the past five years. Farmers have protested throughout. Taking the second issue as Unemployment, Mamata Banerjee said that the unemployment rate in the country is highest in the 45 years. Demonetisation has crippled the economy of India destroying the economic stability from framers to bureaucrats. There were promises made to bring back the black money. The subsidy on domestic gas was removed which costs a poor person one cylinder for rs 800.
Rebuffing the Ujjwala scheme and the Jan Dhan scheme, Mamata Banerjee alleged the BJP government of not doing anything in its five years. Mamata Banerjee said that under the UJjwala scheme, how can they solve poor people’s problems. where would one get 800 to buy a gas cylinder? She said that the Jan Dhan scheme has served no purpose. She claimed that she saw a central government report that said more than four lakh suspicious accounts have come into notice. She alleged that the central government has invested a lot of money in this scheme but nobody knows where that money is. Alleging the demonetization she said that it was a big scam by the government and we should ask for a detailed probe into it.
On questioning her about the seat percentage of BJP and TMC in the past few years and in 2019, Mamata said that TMC will win on all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. On the comment of BJP vote share increase from 2009 to 2014, Mamata said that BJP is the ruling party and thus it intimidates other parties and ED and EC. She said that many CPM leaders joined BJP but the TMC shall remain the ruling party in West Bengal. She said if any party comes in West Bengal they will stay as an opposition.
Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will be the critical places to decide for BJP’s power in this elections. She confirmed that BJP will lose in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and in Delhi. Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will reduce the seats for BJP to 40 or 60.
Talking about the BJP’ take on Hinduism and the religion politics, Mamata Banerjee said that BJP is not even supporting Hindu. It is supporting a religion that they themselves are forming by polarising Hindus. BJP wants to create a religion that does not believe in Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda or any of our ancient scriptures. She alleged BJP of interrupting with the basic right of the people.
She said that West Bengal has 23.6 % of scheduled caste people, 5.9% is the tribal population and Muslims contribute to 30 percent of the state. She said that we’re not targeting any religion. We will seek vote from every religion and every individual.
Mamata Banerjee refused to use Balakot strike as a political agenda. She said that she grieved the death of the CRPF jawans and asked Narendra Modi to call for a party meeting but instead he called a meeting only with the parliamentarians. she said that why the intelligence report was ignored. BJP has been using the Balakot strike as its political agenda. the army belongs to the country and not BJP or Modiji.
On her response to the NRC, she said that Bengal has never supported the NRC that discriminates the Muslims and Hindus. She said that the non-muslim migrants shall be considered foreigner for five to six years and after that, they will linger on the uncertainty of citizenship. She said that Bengal is a culture-oriented state and nobody can divide Hindu and Muslim in the state.
Talking about the delay in Mahagthbandhan. Mamata Banerjee said that the situation keeps in changing and its Jayprakash Narayan who brought all the parties together. She said that when Jaypraksh wanted to defeat Indira Gandhi, he brought the parties together and the message reached the masses. When Indira Gandhi’s garibi hatao mission was achieved, the message reached to the masses. She said “I do not know if the sterilization drive took place but people got the message. I don’t know if Rahul Gandhi was guilty in the Bofors scam, but people got the message. Similarly what PM Modi has done in the past four years, people have received the message and will judge accordingly.
Talking about the Kashmir issue and article 370, she said that the government should consider talking to the people of Kashmir in order to decide for Jammu and Kashmir.
Alleging the Election Commission of being partial, Mamata Banerjee said that EC banned Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath on different agendas where Yogi’s remarks were more dangerous than Mayawati’s.
She said that when the party comes to power, all the political parties will sit and decide on the common minimum agenda. She said that “neither the UPA nor the NDA government will come at the center. Maybe a new combination takes shape.”
She said that capital expenditure has gone up to 11 percent. The GDP for the state is six percent higher than the center. The revenue earnings have tripled. the unemployment rate in Bengal has gone down 40 percent. The state is number one in rural road construction. The state is number one on MSME growth. She said that her Kanyahsree programme has won the United Nations Public Service reward. She said that the state is emerging as a financial hub.