Escalating her fight against the central government for the demonetisation move to a personal one, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today sought President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention to ‘save the country from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’.
Mamata has demanded that the Prime Minister abandon his post and be replaced by veteran BJP leader LK Advani or senior BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley as the head of the government.
"All opposition parties should forget their differences and come together to save the nation. It's high time the President intervened and saved the country. That person (Modi) can't lead the nation. He should step down. There should be a national government," the TMC supremo, who has declared an all-out war against the Modi dispensation over demonetisation and arrest of her party MPs in chit fund scam, said.
Mamata also praised the President’s statement that demonetisation could lead to a temporary slowdown of the economy.
"I have never seen such a vindictive government at the Centre. They are breaking age-old institutions like the Planning Commission and others. They are breaking the backbone of the government," she said.
The Chief Minister claimed West Bengal had lost Rs 5,500 crore following demonetisation and accused the Centre of ‘letting loose a reign of terror’ on opposition parties.
A combative Banerjee also dared the BJP leaders to touch her when she visits the party-ruled Jharkhand.
"Two of my ministers and party leaders will visit Jharkhand and meet the tribal whose land has been forcibly taken away by the state government. After they come back and give me a report, I will visit Jharkhand. They (BJP) have said they will beat me up, If I visit a BJP-ruled state. I want to see if they can even touch me," Banerjee said.
Her comments followed BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya's recent warning to the TMC to mend its ways or face consequences after a string of attacks on party offices and leaders following the arrest of Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Trinamool Congress' leader in the Lok Sabha, in a chit fund scam case.
Vijayvargiya had wondered whether TMC MPs and even Mamata Banerjee would be able to go around the country and enter New Delhi if his party started protesting against them.
Mamata alleged that the Centre wanted to close down companies whose possible revival was being looked at by Board for Indistrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).
"Yesterday I received a letter in which it has been indicated that it wants to close down BIFR companies. In Bengal we are trying to retrieve BIFR companies and the Centre wants to close them down," she said.
BIFR was an agency of the Government of India under Ministry of Finance whose objective was to determine sickness of industrial units and to assist in reviving those that may be viable and shutting down the others.
On June 1, 2016, the Government of India shut down the agency and replaced it with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).