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Modi govt should focus on economic slowdown instead of 'divide and rule' politics: Mamata

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday launched a veiled attack at the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of "divide and rule politics" instead of focusing on the economic slowdown that the country is going through.

"Unemployment, poverty and market price of commodities have gone sky-high. Onion is selling at Rs 140 per kg. Simply dwelling on Hindu-Muslim issues in an attempt to suppress reality (like economic slowdown) will not yield any positive result. I will request all of you to come forward and work together to uphold the unity, peace and integrity of the country," Banerjee said while addressing the inaugural event of INFOCOM 2019.

She maintained that people are skeptical about whether their money is safe in banks and insurance companies. "People are uncertain about the security of their money. It has never happened earlier. It seems to be an epidemic," Banerjee added.

The Chief Minister asserted that industrialists in the country are also becoming apprehensive, with intimidations from Central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax department.

"So many industrialists have left the country and have become NRIs. They were compelled to do so. Rahul Bajaj had the guts to speak out. But I feel that he has been put under the scanner since then," she said.

It may be mentioned that the veteran industrialist had recently said that the current regime in the nation has created an "environment of fear and uncertainty."

"Let the industrialists smile… why should we interfere in their work and try to control them? Our industry friends are interested to invest but if you disturb them they will leave the country and go elsewhere. They should be allowed to work freely," she said.

Meanwhile, Banerjee attributed the dismal industrial growth to the fall in GDP and the economic crisis in the country, adding: "They bring down the price of LPG before the elections and soon after the polls, it is increased."

She further added: "We have 200 acres of land at Rajarhat for the Silicon Valley Hub. Rs 300 crore has already been invested. 20,000 people will be getting jobs at this hub. At present 1,20,000 people are working in the IT sector."

Meanwhile, addressing his first press meet after being released from jail on bail, P Chidambaram did not waste any time in taking on the government on the state of the economy and said the Prime Minister had been "unusually silent" on the slump.

The former Finance minister also called the government "wrong, stubborn and mulish" in defending "catastrophic" mistakes. "The government is making mistakes. It is wrong. Let me repeat, the government is wrong and they are wrong because they are clueless," he said.

Turning to poetry and appearing emotional at certain times, the 74-year-old Congress veteran refused to speak on the INX Media case pending against him and focused mostly on the economy at his packed press conference at the AICC headquarters.

The government is unable to look for the obvious clues because it is "stubborn and mulish" in defending its "catastrophic mistakes" such as demonetisation, flawed GST, tax terrorism, regulatory overkill, protectionism, and centralised control of decision-making in the Prime Minister's Office, he alleged.

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