Kolkata: The need of the hour is to get rid of BJP and people will vote against the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday evening. "People want a change and they will do this," she said.
She was speaking at an interactive session titled "Rising Bengal 2018", organised by a vernacular television channel at a prime hotel in the city.
She said BJP will not get more than 200 seats and reiterated that in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Odisha, the party will do badly in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Asked whether she will be the Prime Minister in 2019 as Bengal for the past 100 years has produced great people from every walk of life but is yet to give a Prime Minister, she said: "It is not the question of who becomes the PM. First, BJP will be voted out and then it will be decided who will be the PM," she said, adding: "The people will be united to vote against BJP and when people are driven by some view then it is difficult to change their mindset. You cannot change it even by spending money."
She pointed out that BJP will try to divide the unity between Mayawati and Akhilesh, "but this time their trick will not be effective."
She said the belief that one party at the Centre like Congress or BJP can rule the country, is changing. The regional parties will do well in the 2019 election. Of the regional parties, six parties including Trinamool Congress are national parties. She said that the federal front will work.
She said in 2014, BJP had made several promises and people believed them to be true. "But over the years, the party has failed to keep promises. Moreover, the audacity, arrogance and atrocity of their leaders has become intolerable. Ban of high value notes, hurried implementation of GST without preparation and failure to control the alarming rise of fuel prices will go against the party," she said.
She regretted that the national media has become purchased and those opposing BJP have been threatened.
She said she has never seen such an "arrogant and tyrannical government" in her life. Without naming Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, she said: "The country is now being ruled by two men. The ministers are not consulted and the cabinet does not function."
Without naming Modi she said: "From marginal and small farmers to top industrialists, everyone is feeling scared as the moment you criticise, BJP will send Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department behind you."
In reply to the fact that BJP is now eyeing Bengal and will be targeting 22 out of 42 Parliament seats, she said: "Here they have two seats and will not be able to retain them. There will be zero seats for BJP in Bengal."
Coming down heavily on RSS, she reiterated that RSS has threatened the Ramakrishna Mission and forced it to cancel the programme in Chicago to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the World Parliament of Religions. Quoting the letter sent by RKM, she said the programme had been cancelled due to "unforeseen difficulties."
"If IS is a fundamentalist organisation then why not RSS," she questioned. The Chicago programme was cancelled because some militant RSS leaders had held an event there. "We do not believe in militant Hinduism but the Hinduism as propagated by Swami Vivekananda," she said.
Banerjee felicitated Swapna Barman who won a gold medal in Asian Games and said the state government will give a flat to her.