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Mamata tells her flock to shun extortion, calls for leaders with principles

Calcutta, July 21 (PTI): Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cautioned workers of her Trinamul Congress party to refrain from extortion and threats, and said she wanted leaders to work with the masses.

She was addressing a giant rally in the heart of Calcutta at a function to observe Martyrs Day in remembrance of 13 Youth Congress activists who were killed in police firing on July 21, 1993.

“Those who don't have principles and values should not come into politics. Some people are spreading canards against Trinamul but we will not fall into their trap,” she told a party rally here.

Mamata's warning to her party workers comes just two days after the party had to suspend three leaders of its unit in the Burdwan-Asansol industrial area for alleged extortion bid and threatening officials of a steel plant at Jamuria in Burdwan district.

”Don't try to become a leader by lobbying. Become a leader by working with the masses,” Mamata said.

Mamata also called for a movement against the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, and said the Bharatiya Janata Party would not be able to emerge a major political force in the Trinamul Congress-ruled state.

”Within a month after coming to power, the Centre has increased the prices of petrol, diesel and hiked rail fares and freight rates. They (BJP) had said many things before the elections but after coming to power they are doing just the reverse. We will launch our movement against these democratically,” Mamata said.

During the rally, three legislators from the Congress and one from the CPM switched to the Trinamul in Mamata’s presence, together with hundreds of local leaders and workers.

Traffic in Kolkata was gridlocked through the day because of the rally. Lakhs of people from the districts converged on the city to participate in the rally, which was also billed as thanksgiving for the party's success in the state in the general election.


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