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"If they arrest me, they will understand their mistake": Mamata Banerjee

If they arrest me, they will understand their mistake: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday vowed to defeat the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls.

Banerjee dared the BJP to arrest her, calling the allegations of exponential rise in assets of her and her relatives in the last few years as "baseless".

She alleged that the central agencies and "ill-gotten money of the BJP" are being used to dislodge elected state governments run by parties opposed to the BJP.

She slammed the opposition for allegedly unleashing a malicious campaign against her and her party leaders following the arrest of two senior leaders by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in different cases. Ms Banerjee said had she not been in politics, she would have asked her people to tear off the tongues of those liars.

Addressing a rally of her party's student wing, Ms Banerjee said a malicious campaign has been unleashed against senior Trinamool leaders such as Abhishek Banerjee, Firhad Hakim and herself.

"Someone told me they have filed a case against me, saying the assets of Mamata Banerjee and her family members have exponentially increased in the past few years. All my relatives have nuclear families, and we only celebrate festivals together. My mother was my only responsibility," she said.

Alleging an exponential rise in the assets of relatives of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in recent years, a PIL filed before the Calcutta High Court on Monday sought an investigation into it by a central agency.

"Why are they lodging a case here? I would urge them to approach the international court as the BJP might interfere in the cases," she said adding that she earns her living by writing books.

"For the past 12 years, I have forfeited a monthly pension of ₹ 1 lakh as a former parliamentarian. Even as a chief minister, I have given up the monthly remuneration. I pay for my own cup of tea and rarely use government vehicles. I stay at my own place, which was given to me by my father," she said.

Alleging that the BJP is trying to smear her image and dragging her name in every matter, she dared the party to have her arrested.

"If they arrest me, they will understand their mistake," the Trinamool chief said.

She slammed the opposition, especially the BJP, for allegedly unleashing a malicious campaign against her and her party leaders following the arrest of senior leaders Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal by central agencies in different cases.

"The BJP is branding everybody as thieves. They are campaigning as if all of us in the Trinamool are thieves and only the BJP and its leaders are holy. Had I not been in politics, I would have asked my party leaders to tear out their tongues," she said.

Apprehending that Hakim, a senior minister, might be arrested as the central agencies recently summoned him, the Trinamool chief said, "If he is arrested, rest assured that it will be a fake case, just to harass him."

If Partha Chatterjee has committed a crime, he will be punished accordingly, she said. The Trinamool chief asked, "Partha Chatterjee, Anubrata Mondal, Firhad Hakim, Aroop Biswas, Abhishek Banerjee, and now Mamata Banerjee - are these people thieves and only the BJP is honest?"

Condemning "media trial" over the arrests, Ms Banerjee said that Mr Chatterjee was arrested after the party's mega rally on July 21 and she apprehends that "something big" will happen after Monday's student body rally.

Referring to senior IPS officers of West Bengal cadre being summoned to New Delhi in a cattle smuggling case, she warned of launching a probe against central government officials posted in the state.

"We respect CBI and ED officials who perform their job honestly. But we too have corruption cases against some CBI, ED, CRPF and BSF officials. If you call our police officials and harass them, we, too, will take legal action against your officers," she said.

The feisty Trinamool boss wondered how the BJP has got such huge funds to allegedly topple elected governments in states.

"The BJP is parking money abroad through hawala. The BJP has to be defeated in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," she said.

On the alleged rape of a woman near the India-West Bengal border by two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, she wondered whether such an incident happened due to the Centre's decision to extend the paramilitary force's jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km in border areas.

The Home Ministry is answerable to this, she said.

Ms Banerjee said Trinamool's women's wing would conduct a 48-hour-long sit-in in Kolkata against the release of the convicts of the Bilkis Bano case.

PTI with edits

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