West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that regardless of whether the Prime Minister or the Chief Justice of India are brought within the Lokpal’s ambit, she said what is necessary is a change in the system.
Interacting with a house full of reporters at the capital’s Press Club for the first time on Tuesday after taking over the CM’s mantle, Ms Banerjee said that the inclusion of the PM or the Chief Justice “hardly matters” adding, “Do you think that inclusion of one person will strengthen the fight against corruption?” She also said, “Include everybody, I have no problem.”
Ms Banerjee has been in the capital since Monday during which she has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as well as President Pratibha Patil. Ms Banerjee is said to be seeking a huge financial package from the Centre to help bail out Bengal from its present financial mess.
While Ms Banerjee denied that she is here to seek a financial package, she said that what she needs is to be able to provide “roti, kapda aur makan” to her state’s people.
On the PM’s inclusion under the Lokpal’s purview, Ms Banerjee said, “I have no problem. I am with the UPA.” At the same time, Ms Banerjee also said that what’s really needed is the need for electoral reforms declaring, “I am for state funding of elections.” In a reference to black money, she said, “Bring back money from outside.”
Asked more than once about Baba Ramdev as well as the crackdown on him and his supporters at Ramlila Grounds, Ms Banerjee was somewhat evasive only saying, Ask me questions relating to Bengal and not on Delhi,” adding for good measure, “I was not in Delhi”.