Air India is 'India's pride' and we do not support Centre's decision to sell it, says Mamata Banerjee

Purba Burdwan (West Bengal): West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday criticised the Modi government for trying to 'privatise' the national carrier Air India and introduce GST in a "hurried" manner, saying "we do not support this".

File image of Mamata Banerjee. PTI

File image of Mamata Banerjee. PTI

"They (Centre) is trying to sell Air India entirely. Air India is the nation's pride. We don't support this," she said at a public meeting here.

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday cleared disinvestment of the beleaguered national airline, Air India, which has floundered amid stiff competition from no-frills rivals and reported at least seven years of losses.

"The Centre is also trying to shift the Tea Board of India headquarter from Kolkata," she claimed.

In a veiled but obvious reference to Narendra Modi, she alleged, "Attempts are being made to throttle democracy. There is dictatorship in the country. They think they will rule for ever".

"If anyone raises a voice of protest, central agencies like IT and CBI are unleashed. Even media is not spared. But I am not afraid of it. We are with the people," she said.

"No one was protesting against policies of the Centre due to fear. But someone has to bell the cat. I will do it," she added.

Banerjee also slammed the Centre for "introducing GST hurriedly".

"We were in favour of GST. But they have changed many things. Starting from medicine, they have imposed tax. We have requested them not to implement it in a hurried manner. But they did not pay heed to it," she said.

Banerjee yesterday said that her party TMC would not attend the GST roll-out programme on 30 June midnight. She had also termed the GST roll-out as another "epic blunder" by the Centre.

"The Centre had asked the state to go for ordnance by 19 June or else the Treasury would stop working," she said.

She said, "People are still suffering because of demonetisation. Their economic freedom was taken away. It is more than emergency".

Updated Date: Jun 29, 2017 19:41 PM

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