West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission was an attempt to distract people from the “economic disaster”.

“As if the Chandrayaan launch is the first in the country. As if before they came to power, no such missions were taken up,” The Indian Express quoted Banerjee as saying in the state Assembly. “It is an attempt to divert attention from economic disaster.”

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second mission to the moon, which is scheduled to attempt soft landing on the lunar surface between 1.30 am and 2.30 am on Saturday. If the mission is successful, India will become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon after the United States, Russia and China.

Chandrayaan-1, which was the country’s first lunar mission, was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009.

‘Will never let BJP implement NRC in West Bengal’

The West Bengal chief minister said that her administration would not allow implementation of the National Register of Citizens in the state, PTI reported. The chief minister said that the implementation of the NRC was done as political vendetta of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.

“We will never let BJP implement the National Register of Citizens in West Bengal,” Banerjee said in the Legislative Assembly during discussion on the motion on NRC. “This [NRC implementation] is nothing but an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the ongoing economic crisis in the country.” The chief minister also said that there was nobody in the country who will speak against the saffron party.

Banerjee thanked all those who supported the resolution on NRC and said that the “pillars of democracy”, including the media and judiciary were being “run by central advisories”.

“Hopefully, someday they will also understand who have destroyed the institutions of the country,” India Today quoted her as saying. “Names of genuine Indians excluded from the NRC list.”

The chief minister further said that she had spoken to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who she said had agreed to not allow NRC in the state, ANI reported. She said that the Assam Accord was signed under Rajiv Gandhi’s regime to maintain peace and that the NRC was not acceptable to any other state.

Centre should focus on economy: Mamata

Banerjee said that she agreed with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had, on Sunday, asked the Centre to set aside “vendetta politics” and consult with “all sane voices and thinking minds” to save the economy. Singh made the comments after data released on August 30 showed that India’s economic growth rate had slipped to 5% in the April-June quarter, the lowest in over six years.

The West Bengal chief minister also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting against the merging of two banks whose headquarters are in Kolkata. Banerjee said that the state government should have been consulted before the decision was taken to merge the banks.

“Unilateral decision on merger of banks and threat of shifting headquarters from West Bengal will adversely affect the developmental momentum of the state,” PTI quoted her as saying.

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