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Mamata Banerjee Slams Interim Budget, Says ‘Everything is Just For Show to Win Votes’

"It's a sign of desperation to retain power," Banerjee said.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday slammed the Centre for declaring a number of populist proposals in its interim budget before the general election, saying the announcements had no value and was a sign of desperation.

“There is nothing concrete in the budget…. Everything is just for show to win votes. It’s a sign of desperation to retain power,” Banerjee said.

“No government in its interim budget can take up full-fledged plans ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. So the announcements made in the interim budget have absolutely no value,” the Trinamool Congress chief said.

The Narendra Modi government on Friday made a big populist push in its final budget before the polls, exempting people with an earning of up to Rs 5 lakh from paying income tax, announcing an annual cash dole of Rs 6,000 to small farmers and providing a monthly pension of Rs 3,000 to workers in the unorganised sector.

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“Who will implement this (interim budget)? Will the new government that will come into being implement this budget? Before election, a vote-on-account is placed,” Banerjee, who was a former railway minister, said.

“The proposals in the budget ahead of (the) elections are nothing and targeted at vote banks. With this, (the) government’s term (is) set to expire soon… such a gesture is a total fraud,” the chief minister said.

Claiming that the country was passing through an economic emergency after demonetisation and the hurried GST roll-out, she asked: “Where will the money come from to implement the proposals? Why did they (NDA government) not announce a single agenda, including that to help farmers, in the last four years?”

Banerjee said a number of budget proposals announced were “photocopies of proposals” of her government. “The BJP government does not have any moral right to place such (budget) announcement.”

The TMC chief pointed out that there was no increase of fund allocation in many important projects like the MGNREGA, programmes under rural development and skill development, Ujjwala scheme and several others.

“The Modi government is actually cheating the farmers without giving them due benefits,” she said. “Besides, the banking system has been destroyed.”

Banerjee alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was disrupting the federal structure by undertaking several programmes without discussing with the state governments, which is “not good for democracy”.

“We have already withdrawn our participation from the programmes like Ayushman Bharat and crop insurance to farmers. We are continuing our own programme, Swasthya Sathi, and crop insurance to farmers from our funds. We shall not take a single paise from the Centre,” she said.

The chief minister accused the Modi government of misusing power by making false promises and giving false assurances to the voters.

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Banerjee alleged that through demonetisation, all black money had been turned into white money and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) was unprecedented and a “complete mess”.

She called the latest assurance for MSME loans in 59 minutes a “huge scam” and pointed out to reports about the growing unemployment in the country.

“In every respect, the Modi government has established itself as the data-manipulation master and the country is passing through a super emergency. It’s under threat,” Banerjee said.

Throwing a challenge to the Modi government to fight her politically, Banerjee said the Opposition alliance would work on a common-minimum programme and on the basis of collective responsibility in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

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