Home India Politics Mamata attacks Pranab for ‘Tughlaq’ remark

Mamata attacks Pranab for ‘Tughlaq’ remark


Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday attacked union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s reported comment against giving funds to her government by going beyond constitutional provisions, saying the state was only “demanding its due” and not begging.

Banerjee took particular exception to Mukherjee’s comments reported in a section of the media that he could not dole out money like emperor Mohammad Bin Tughlaq to ensure a special package for the state.

“The ‘Tughlaq’ comment is not acceptable. I can bear everything but not the insult of people of Bengal. This comment has not gone down well with me. All these years (34 years of Left Front rule in the state) there was nothing Tughlaqi. We have just been in power for 70 days, how can now helping us be Tughlaqi?” said Banerjee in an interview to a Bengali news channel Star Ananda.

“We are watching everything,” she said, in an apparent warning to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Banerjee asked how could she run the state when 89 percent of the money was being spent on repaying loans.

“No, we are not begging. West Bengal is not outside India. We are only demanding our due. This is not begging. We are not seeking charity,” she said.

Mukherjee reportedly made the Tughlaq comment during a closed-door meeting with Congress legislators at the state assembly Friday when asked about the financial package sought by the state which is reeling under severe financial crunch.

Mukherjee also said Friday that no region should expect that it would be spoon-fed by the centre with grants and sponsorships.

Flaying Mukherjee, Banerjee said: “They say giving money to us is unconstitutional. But why didn’t they think of the constitution when they doled out money to bail out the previous (Left Front) government? Why did they allow them (LF) to ruin the state? I’ve asked Pranabda repeatedly why you didn’t bring this issue before the people then?”

“Even last year, they had bailed out the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) when the state government was facing a financial crunch… If asking money for the people of Bengal is unconstitutional, then I am ready to do that a thousand times,” she asserted.

Without naming anybody, Banerjee said: “If somebody is jealous, I can’t do anything. I can give medicine for some other disease, but I can’t give medicine for jealousy.”

State Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Banerjee had met Mukherjee several times seeking for a bailout package. “The central government is like a parent while the states are its children. It is the duty of the parent to take care of her children. The care must be special when the child is handicapped,” said Banerjee comparing her state with a handicapped child.

She said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, before the April-May assembly elections, had promised a special economic package to help revive the state’s financial health.

She also said her government is yet to receive “even one paisa” of the amount promised by the central government for the development of north Bengal as well as for the Maoist-hit districts.