New Delhi: Congress ridiculed the West Bengal Chief Minister's plan to mop up revenue from cigarette sales for compensating the victims of the Saradha chit fund scam, saying that it was "Mamata's Mantra for the youth".
"Smoking is injurious to health. Tobacco tax to mop up revenue this way means you assume that people will smoke more. This may create revenue for the state. But if citizens smoke more to mop up revenue for states, the states will have to pay for their health. This is a dichotomy, I cannot understand. This must be Mamata's Mantra for the youth. I do not understand what is the philosophy behind it," Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary told reporters.
She was responding to questions about the relief package of Rs 500 crore announced by Banerjee and that she planned to raise nearly Rs 150 crore by increasing sales tax on tobacco products by 10 percent.
"You should ask her. She has a different answer on how to run a state. I cannot comment," she said when asked whether it was proper to use taxpayers' money to pay victims of the chit fund scam.
Replying to questions about allegations of involvement of some Congress leaders and the lawyer-wife of a Union Minister in the scam, Chowdhary suggested that accusations being made by the individuals concerned should be taken with a pinch of salt.
"Who is saying all this? The man, who is accused (in the scam), is making these allegations. Should we not verify it? It is unfortunate that a political party takes up slanderous and libelous allegations this way. It is very dangerous to do it," she said.
"As a professional, she can ask for her professional fees," Chowdhary said, in response to the lawyer-wife of a Union Minister.
The Congress spokesperson said all the charges should be probed in the chit fund scam and dubbed it as a "grand con".
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 19:22:11 IST