Don't take our money, Mamata warns Centre

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Kolkata, Jan 22: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday warned the Centre against collecting taxes from the state if it failed to meet her demand of a three-year moratorium on interest on loans.

Addressing a rally in Canning in South 24-Parganas district, Banerjee said the Centre collected Rs 40,000 crore in taxes from the state while allocated just Rs 18,000 crore back. The Chief Minister said she has waited patiently for over one-and-a-half years but if the Congress-led government at the Centre continued to take away Rs 22,000 crore, she would go to Delhi and take action. "I know what to do," the CM said.

Banerjee said she had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh several times to discuss the matter but nothing materialised. "What else can I do, beat them up? Then you shall say it is goondaism," the Chief Minister, who is also the supremo of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), said.

Some felt the remark was aimed at the recent comments made by the state Governor, MK Narayanan, in the wake of political violence in Bhangar area in the same district earlier this month. The Governor said that it was nothing but goondaism.

The Chief Minister also took a dig at the Congress, the CPI(M) and the BJP, saying all the three had ganged up against her. She said her party had brought a no-confidence motion against the UPA government on the issue of foreign direct investment but did not receive any response from any quarter. The TMC had pulled out of the central government in September.

Banerjee also lashed out at leaders of some Muslim groups, some of whom were seen sharing the dais with her during the run-up to the 2011 assembly polls in which the TMC drubbed the ruling Left Front government. These same leaders were now found accusing the CM of doing little for the minorities despite tall claims and that she was spreading lies. Banerjee said these leaders thought only about their kin and nobody else.

Minister of state for railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, meanwhile, slammed Banerjee for her comments against the Centre. Describing Banerjee an unfit candidate for the CM's post, the minister asked why was she telling all these in Canning and not in Delhi. He said the National Development Council gives the Chief Ministers a platform to speak out but Banerjee never used the opportunity and only sent her representative. "Neem gacche ki aam hoye?" (Mango never hangs from a neem tree), Chowdhury mocked Banerjee, while speaking to a Bengali channel.

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