'Chalo Delhi' if no moratorium on interest payment: Mamata
Kolkata, July 21 (IANS) Issuing a stern warning to the central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday said her party MPs and legislators will go to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh if their demand for a three-year moratorium on interest payments on central loans was not met soon.
"If Delhi continues to deprive us, we won't bow our head. Bengal knows how to extract its demand. During the past one year, we have told them at least 50 times about our problem," Banerjee, also the chief of the Trinamool Congress - the second largest constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance - told a party rally here.
She said while the state earned Rs.22,000 crore annually, its outgo was Rs.25,000 crore on account of loan repayments.
"How can we make both ends meet? It is not our fault. The centre allowed the erstwhile Left Front government in the state huge loans."
Asking Delhi not to neglect Bengal, she said: "If need be, the people of Bengal will give a clarion call for 'Delhi chalo' (go to Delhi)."
The chief minister said her state neither wanted a financial package nor a grant.
"We only want a three-year moratorium on interest payment. I will wait for a few more days. If I get it, I will be indebted to them."
"Otherwise, we'll take all our 28 MPs, 186 MLAs (legislators), and four lawmakers of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha to the prime minister. I will tell him we don't want any charity or favour.
"When the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front took loans, why did you (central government) allow it? If we are to make a turnaround, we need money for development. We won't pay this interest," Banerjee asserted.
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