Kolkata, Feb 4 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday alleged that the Modi government had “snatched” farmers’ sleep and claimed they were being cheated before the general elections.

Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, assured that if the government at the Centre changes, farmers’ interests will be given priority.

The chief minister is on a dharna since Sunday night over the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police commissioner in connection with chit fund scams.

From the dharna site in front of Metro Cinema in the heart of the city, Banerjee addressed a state conference of farmers over phone, which the participants at the Netaji Indoor Stadium heard over loudspeakers.

“The BJP, the Modi government have snatched farmers’ sleep,” Banerjee said, claiming that nearly 12,000 farmers have committed suicide in the country.

“Farmers are being cheated before the elections,” she alleged, referring to the sops announced in the interim budget placed by the NDA government in Parliament on Friday.

Her dharna site is the same venue where she held a 26-day hunger strike in 2006 demanding return of farmland to peasants at Singur, where the Tata Motors’ Nano car plant was to come up. The Singur movement catapulted her to power in 2011 defeating the Left Front government.

The Tatas had abandoned the project and went to Sanand in Gujarat on the invitation of the then chief minister of the state Narendra Modi.

Addressing the farmers gathering, Banerjee said owing to demonetisation, farmers are in deep distress with many having committed suicide or lost their livelihood.

“Our government is the only one in the country which does not acquire farmland and have returned acquired land in Singur,” Banerjee said.

Highlighting several schemes and benefits that her government has given to farmers since coming to power in 2011, Banerjee said Rs 1,200 crore have been spent by her government for such schemes.

The chief minister said over one crore people were benefited from various social security programmes of the state government.

“Modi government is saying that by 2022, farmers’ income will be doubled, but in Bengal we have already tripled their income,” she said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.