Tribune News Service
Kolkata, June 9
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said there should be a trade union of state governments to thwart Central government’s machinations against an individual state government.
“I think there should be union of state governments in a federal structure. All Chief Ministers should be together. If an individual state is harassed by them (Central government) then all other states will fight against the step,” Banerjee said.
Banerjee, who has been having a running feud with the Narendra Modi-led government on a series of issues, was talking to mediapersons after a meeting with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders Rakesh Tikait and Yudhvir Singh at the state secretariat “Nabanna” here.
The farmer leaders, who were present at the press conference, wanted the West Bengal CM to talk to other non-BJP chief ministers for supporting their agitation against the three controversial farm Bills.
Banerjee said she would get in touch with those chief ministers who were friend with her and try to organise a virtual conference to extend support to the agitating farmers. She would also try to persuade likeminded CMs to draw up a letter before the Lok Sabha elections extending support to the agitators, she added.
“I am ready to support the agitating farmers till their demands were wholly met,” Banerjee added. Criticising the Centre for not trying to talk to the protesters, she said the farmers were also countrymen and the Central government should not keep ignoring them.
“If farmers are not interested, then why impose the new farm laws on them. I shall like to urge the Central government to withdraw the farm laws,” Banerjee said.
She also took on the Centre on GST on Covid-19 vaccines. “Imposing GST on vaccines is like playing with the life and death of people,” she said. She demanded that 25 per cent of the supply meant for private hospitals should also be routed through the respective state governments.
On the restrictions imposed on retired security and intelligence officials prohibiting them from publishing books without prior clearance, Banerjee said such a gag order was not in keeping with the spirit of democracy.
Banerjee said to save democracy she would like to appeal to all anti-BJP forces as well as BJP old-timers and even the new entrants in the BJP who are disillusioned with Modi to join hands and fight to save the country.