West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday alleged that the Modi government had "snatched" farmers' sleep and claimed they were being cheated before the general elections.
Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, assured that if the government at the Centre changes, farmers' interests will be given priority. The chief minister is on a dharna since Sunday night over the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police commissioner in connection with chit fund scams.
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From the dharna site in front of Metro Cinema in the heart of the city, Banerjee addressed a state conference of farmers over phone, which the participants at the Netaji Indoor Stadium heard over loudspeakers.
"The BJP, the Modi government have snatched farmers' sleep," Banerjee said, claiming that nearly 12,000 farmers have committed suicide in the country.
"Farmers are being cheated before the elections," she alleged, referring to the sops announced in the interim budget placed by the NDA government in Parliament on Friday.
Her dharna site is the same venue where she held a 26-day hunger strike in 2006 demanding return of farmland to peasants at Singur, where the Tata Motors' Nano car plant was to come up. The Singur movement catapulted her to power in 2011 defeating the Left Front government.
The Tatas had abandoned the project and went to Sanand in Gujarat on the invitation of the then chief minister of the state Narendra Modi.
Addressing the farmers gathering, Banerjee said owing to demonetisation, farmers are in deep distress with many having committed suicide or lost their livelihood.
"Our government is the only one in the country which does not acquire farmland and have returned acquired land in Singur," Banerjee said.
Highlighting several schemes and benefits that her government has given to farmers since coming to power in 2011, Banerjee said Rs 1,200 crore have been spent by her government for such schemes.
The chief minister said over one crore people were benefited from various social security programmes of the state government.
"Modi government is saying that by 2022, farmers' income will be doubled, but in Bengal we have already tripled their income," she said.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Kolkata Police-CBI face-off, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said there may be a constitutional breakdown in West Bengal.
Amidst din in the Lok Sabha, he asserted that the Centre has power to take action.
He also termed as "unprecedented" the move to stop the probe agency from performing its duty. An all-out war broke out between the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government on Sunday over the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police commissioner in connection with chit fund scams.
Making a statement in Lok Sabha on the prevailing situation in Kolkata, Singh described the action against the CBI probe team, which went to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, as "unprecedented" and a threat to the federal political system of the country.
"There may be constitutional breakdown in West Bengal...under the Constitution, the central government has been vested with the power to maintain normalcy in any part of the country," he said.
Earlier, opposition parties in Lok Sabha attacked the government over the alleged misuse of central agencies against political rivals, saying it was against democratic norms.
Members from Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal, NCP and Samajwadi Party spoke against the CBI move to question the Kolkata police chief.
A CPI-M member said both the Trinamool Congress and the Centre were at fault.
As soon as the House took up Zero Hour, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed members to raise the issue.