West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday called on President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene and “save the country” from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Criticising the prime minister for his demonetisation drive, Banerjee said he should step down to make way for a “national government” with another Bharatiya Janata Party leader at the helm.
Among the names that Banerjee suggested were Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. “BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, Home Minister Rajnath Singh or Finance Minister Arun Jaitley can head the government. The current situation is unacceptable,” she said, adding that Modi has to go.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said the West Bengal chief minister should not have made such a statement as the prime minister was elected by the people of India. He said her comments “should not be taken seriously”.
The West Bengal chief minister has been vocal in her criticism of the Modi-led government’s policies, particularly since the announcement of the demonetisation drive on November 8. She had called the move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes a “draconian decision” and demanded an immediate rollback.
Recently, she had alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation’s arrest of two of her Trinamool Congress Party colleagues – Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Pal – was a vindictive response to her party’s criticism of Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. “The Centre cannot tolerate any opposition. We are speaking out against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, which is why the CBI is attacking us now,” said Banerjee.
On January 3, TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay was arrested in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam. TMC leader Chandrima Bhattacharya filed a First Information Report, alleging that the CBI did not have any evidence to execute the arrest. Earlier on December 30 last year, a CBI court had sentenced Tapas Pal to 14 days in judicial custody.