Narendra Modi becoming prime minister is a "fantasy", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said while dismissing any comparisons with her state and Gujarat as a comparison between a rich, privileged child and an undernourished, neglected one.
The Trinamool Congress chief also said that a Federal Front government will be formed after the elections. "His (Modi) becoming a Prime Minister is a fantasy. So, I don't need to answer this hypothetical question," Banerjee told PTI in an interview here when asked whether she expected better financial treatment in the event of Modi becoming the Prime Minister. "The Federal Front is the future. A Federal Front government will be formed after the elections," Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress chief, said.
"Bengal does not need to go with a begging bowl. We are only asking for what is due to us. The demand for moratorium is not new. Even before 2011 elections the Prime Minister had promised to restructure Bengal's burden created by three decades of Left rule," Banerjee said. "I and my finance minister had so many meetings, but they did not do anything. They did not keep their promise." On comparison of Gujarat with West Bengal, the West Bengal Chief Minister said "Comparing Gujarat with Bengal is like is like comparing a rich, privileged child and an undernourished, neglected one.
"Some people are talking about the Gujarat model. I must tell you there cannot be any comparison ... Gujarat has been developing even before the current Chief Minister. In fact, the growth rate of Gujarat declined during his tenure." Banerjee said she had a lot of love for the people of Gujarat. "Look at our population density and compare.They have 19 ports, we have only two. Even then Bengal model is far better," she said.
Asked how different her approach was from Congress on protecting the rights of minorities, she listed 57 lakh scholarships to minority students and Urdu medium schools.
Alleging that both the Congress and BJP appeased religious groups during election time, Banerjee recalled how a well wisher had once told her that TMC stood for temple, mosque and church. "I said no. No. Trinamool stands for development and dedication to the people. We work for all." She said, "Let me give you an example of how the Congress and BJP say something and do something else. They have talked about 33% reservation for women in the Women's Reservation Bill. Do you know what percentage of their candidates are women? The BJP has only 8% women candidates and the Congress has 14%. Trinamool Congress is proud to have 27% women candidates. We do not make false promises in our manifesto. Our manifesto is for the people, of the people and by the people," she said describing the manifesto as 'sacred'.
She also referred to establishment of fair price shops, web-based procurement policy of medicines, PPP, IT and textile policy, besides the Kanyashree programme to stop child marriage with unmarried girl students getting a grant of Rs 500 per year up to the age of 18 and a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 if they pursue higher education. "We have done more in 34 months than what the Communists have done in 34 years. Our development model is tried and tested in Bengal. It can be implemented in other states as well. This is true federal structure," she added.