KOLKATA: Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday accused the BJP of making inroads in the state through “money, police and EVM (Electronic Voting Machines) and said in the coming assembly elections, they will “lose everything”. Demanding the ballot box back, she said the Lok Sabha election earlier this year was “a mystery, not history”.At a mega rally in Kolkata Sunday afternoon, the Chief Minister also issued a warning: “Some BJP leader has said ‘Pull TMC leaders off the bus’. I say to the BJP – if we react in kind, will you be able to withstand?” Also Read – Don’t use ‘lynching’ to defame India: Bhagwat”What fight by the BJP? Who are they? No one in Bengal knows them. Only RSS goons are doing dirty work through schools… In Bihar, the government has told the police to monitor RSS activity. We have not asked the police. They should be aware,” she warned the BJP, which won 18 of the state’s 42 seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election. While Martyrs’ Day – a tribute to the people killed in police firing during her rally in 1993 – is an annual event, Sunday’s rally at the heart of Kolkata is seen as a launchpad for the assembly election campaign. Before the lakhs attending the rally, the TMC supremo gave a point by point refutal to the BJP accusations against her party and government. On the BJP demand that the Chief Minister returns the “cut money” amassed by her partymen, Mamata thundered: “Cut money? You are asking TMC to return cut money? Give us back the promised 15 lakh black money”.
But as part of the deal agreed on Tuesday with major powers, the currency restrictions are being lifted, effectively allowing the Islamic Republic to resume free trade with countries such as Sri Lanka. And even after those restrictions began being rolled out in 2008, more than 30 million kilos (66 million pounds) of Sri Lankan tea were sold to Iran.Industry bosses say the number of exports to Iran could now double, which would be a fillip to a sector that has been hit by a global glut of tea and an increase in the domestic costs of production.“With sanctions gone, there is a potential to double our tea exports to Iran,” said Anil Cooke, chief executive officer of the Sri Lankan tea firm Asia Siyaka Commodities. He said a majority of tea growers in Sri Lanka will see better demand for their produce while Iranian consumers will also benefit thanks to lower intervention costs in directly importing Ceylon tea. The easing of sanctions on Iran will deliver a much needed pick-me-up to Sri Lanka’s troubled tea industry by allowing the resumption of direct exports to one of its main markets, the government said Wednesday.The AFP news agency reported that although tea was not on the list of products banned from being exported to Iran over its nuclear programme, restrictions on banking meant exporters had to go through risky and expensive channels to be paid. “Our tea industry has been going through a very difficult patch last year. Opening up of the Iran market will be a big boost,” he told reporters.Before the restrictions on banking put the squeeze on exports, Iran was the largest overseas market for Sri Lanka’s trademark Ceylon brew. “Direct exports to Iran will mean a better deal for our producers. This is very welcome,” said Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. read more