Thakurnagar, Sept. 21: Mamata Banerjee today made a public pledge to stop the entry of FDI in Bengal’s retail sector and vowed to fight like a “bagher bachcha (one born of a tiger)”.
“Common people will not be able to buy anything. Bhate marbe (they will die of hunger). FDI paray dhukte debo na (we won’t allow FDI in our area). Remember the GATT agreement. This is the elder brother, no, the grandfather, of the GATT agreement,” the chief minister said at a government programme to lay the foundation stone of a college named after P.R. Thakur, the founder of the Matua Mahasangha, at Gaighata’s Thakurnagar.
“I can be attacked any day. I don’t care. Joto din banchbo, bagher bachchar moto banchbo (for however long I live, I shall live like one born of a tiger),” she said.
The chief minister said the FDI notification had come as a shock to her. “This was a midnight shock. They didn’t consult anybody before issuing the notification. People across the country want this to be changed. They are protesting, they won’t allow FDI in retail. This was undemocratic and unethical,” Mamata said.
Before reaching Thakurnagar, Mamata made a stopover at the Haj House off VIP Road to oversee arrangements for Haj pilgrims. At the programme, she also inaugurated a minority office in Barasat.
Speaking against FDI in retail, Mamata referred to her pet theme — land.
“They will take away your land. They will take away your shops. They will dictate terms to the markets. Won’t you hit back after being attacked? They have set your kitchens ablaze, won’t you say anything?” the chief minister asked. “Yes,” the 2,500-strong crowd replied in unison.
Taking a dig at the Centre for capping the number of subsidised LPG cylinders at six a year, Mamata said: “They don’t cook at home. The food also comes from abroad.”