30 - 11 - 2020

Mamata Banerjee hits out at BJP, says it should not dream of ruling West Bengal

Kolkata,Sept 5,2019: In a veiled attack on the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Thursday, said that those who had vandalised the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar should not dream of ruling West Bengal. 

"Modern-day India is different from the old India. We are working under threat. History cannot be changed, Vidyasagar statue cannot be vandalised and then the same people try to rule Bengal. I request all to uphold the diversity of Bengal," Banerjee said at an event here.

The bust of Vidyasagar, a 19th-century social reformer, was vandalised in clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers at Vidyasagar College during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow on May 14.

Banerjee had unveiled a new statue of Vidyasagar on June 11, which was then installed in the same place later in the day.

During the course of the event, which was held on Teachers` Day, the West Bengal Chief Minister also accused the Center of not giving adequate funds to the state governments.

"The state government earns from the public to carry out their expenditure. Unlike the Centre, which has an RBI and can withdraw money as per their wish at any time and they can also print new currency. Centre does not give us enough to spend and they take so much tax from the state," Banerjee said.

Further blaming the Centre she added, "Central government has closed down Sarwa Shiksha Abhiyaan and due to that we cannot work. We could have done much more

Debt-ridden Mamata Banerjee govt 'gifts' Rs 70 crore to West Bengal Durga Puja organisers

Kolkata, Sept 1,2019:At a time when West Bengal is reeling under a debt burden, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a Durga Puja ‘gift’ to the organisers that would cost the state exchequer as much as Rs 70 crore.

As many as 3,000 Durga Puja pandals are set up in Kolkata alone while the rest of Bengal witnesses over 25,000 Durga Pujas pandals. Each of these 28,000 Durga Puja committees would be 'gifted' Rs 25,000, a whopping increase from Rs 10,000 that was given last year.

The West Bengal Chief Minister also announced an additional Rs 5,000 for the Durga puja committees which are fully managed by women only. Apart from this, she also announced that CESC and WBSEDCL – electricity supply boards in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal, respectively, will offer a 25% concession on the total electricity bill of each of the Durga puja pandals.

“We are a poor man’s government but we still try our best for the Durga puja committees. Instead of Rs 10,000 given last year, we are increasing it to Rs 25,000 this year. I am aware that the economic condition of the Durga puja committees is not very well and the electricity unit prices have also risen, hence we are offering 25% discounts on electricity bills. Kolkata Municipal Corporation tax have also been eradicated,” said Mamata Banerjee.

The Mamata Banerjee government inherited a debt of around Rs two lakh crore from the Left Front government when it came to power back in 2011. However, the Chief Minister and state finance minister Amit Mitra have been raising the issue of a waiver of the debt time and again with the Centre.

While the total loan repayment figure for the year (2018-19) stood at Rs 49,656 crore, it rose to Rs 56,183.16 crore for the year 2019-20.


Mamata Banerjee makes, serves tea during village visit

Kolkata,Aug 22,2019: Donning the role of a tea-seller, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was spotted brewing some cups at a stall during her official tour to state's coastal town of Digha, instantly catching the eye of social media users.

While inspecting the area to ensure better facilities for tourists, Banerjee suddenly asked her convoy to stop in front of a tea shack.

Her security officials and other administrative officials were clueless on why the CM had asked to stop her convoy at Duttapur area all of a sudden. Before anyone could guess, 'Didi' simply walked into the shack and asked the owner if she could make tea for the customers.

The tea stall owner was taken aback by her gesture and greeted Banerjee with folded hands and helped her brew tea. When the tea was ready, she politely asked the tea stall owner to serve it.

At the time of Didi's chai-wali avatar, party leaders like Suvendu Adhikary and Subrata Mukherjee were also present. In the meantime, a large number of local people gathered in the area to have a glimpse of the chief minister.

She distributed cupcakes, chocolates among the children, and also took one of them in her arms and inquired about his education. "Sometimes the little joys in life can make us happy. Making and sharing some nice tea (cha/chai) is one of them. Today, in Duttapur, Digha," she tweeted.

This is not the first time that Mamata took some time out for herself. In January, she found time out of her tight schedule for a game of badminton in Birbhum district's Bolpur during an administrative meeting. Later, she tweeted the video of herself with a caption, "We love sports. A token game in a village." But her tea-seller avatar in Digha is reminiscent of Narendra Modi's 'chaiwallah' pitch before he became the prime minister for the first time in 2014.

As Banerjee is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave in Bengal which brought her tally from 34 to 22 seats in the recently held Lok Sabha polls, team 'PK' (Prashant Kishor) is silently working on a 'complete image makeover' of TMC chief.

Party leaders felt that this could be her initiative towards an image makeover after poll strategist Prashant Kishor advised her to keep things 'measured'.

( input from new agencies)


Congress Names Adhir Chowdhury Lok Sabha Chief

Kolkata, June 18,2019:The Congress today named senior West Bengal leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury its leader in Lok Sabha, after failing to convince Rahul Gandhi to take up the post. At the long-pending strategy session this morning - where Mr Gandhi and his mother UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were present - the matter was discussed. A letter has been written to Lok Sabha, saying Mr Chowdhury would be the leader of the single largest party from the opposition and represent it at all important selection committees.

The party also focused on tomorrow's meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss his "One nation one election" idea. The Congress has so far opposed it, arguing against it from practical, logistical and legal angles.

The question of a Lok Sabha leader opened up after the party's senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge lost the election. But the Congress was soft-pedalling on the issue as it wanted Rahul Gandhi for the position.

But Mr Gandhi, since the party's rout in the national election, has been insistent on giving up the party chief's post. The party has refused to accept it and there has been an impasse for weeks.

With the Lok Sabha being convened yesterday, the party today opted for an alternative.

Along with Adhir Chowdhury, Kerala leader K Suresh, party spokesperson Manish Tewari and Thiruvanathapuram lawmaker Shashi Tharoor were reportedly in the running for the post.

But Mr Chowdhury - a five-time member of the Lok Sabha - was chosen in view of his long experience in the parliament and the party.

Celebrities Join Docs In Kolkata Rally Demanding Dialogue

Kolkata, June 15,2019: Expressing solidarity with the protesting doctors of West Bengal, a number of film personalities, singers, painters, civil right activists and common people on Friday participated in a 2-kilometre march here alongside medicos of various hospitals.

The participants walked from NRS Medical College and Hospital – the epicentre of the protests – to Calcutta National Medical College carrying placards and banners reading “Enough is Enough”, “Stop violence against doctors” and “pashe achi” (we are with you).

There was constant shouting of slogans like “We want Justice” while some hummed “We shall overcome”.

Donning her signature sunglasses and a big hat, renowned actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen walked alongside other personalities like painter Samir Aich, musicians Debojyoti Mishra and Anupam Roy, human rights activist Binayak Sen and so on.

“As a citizen of India, I request the Chief Minister to go as a guardian of the junior doctors and listen to them. I request you with folded hands to meet them and facilitate dialogue,” Sen said.

She said that the young medicos “are also feeling bad” about depriving the patients of getting treatment.

“But it the administration’s responsibility to take care of the situation,” she said.

“Apart from condemning the kind of violence visited upon these young doctors, we also feel that the whole of the political economy of ill health in India needs to be addressed for any lasting solution,” Binayak Sen, paediatrician cum public health specialist said.

Many senior doctors of state-run and private hospitals were seen walking with a fake bandages on the forehead.

“We want to convey the message that we have been injured and almost brutally assaulted. We are here to treat people,” a doctor said.

As the procession moved ahead, more and more participants joined from various points.

Condemning the attack on the junior doctors, singer-songwriter Anupam Roy said: “It is a time of severe crisis and all of us want a quick solution. No doctor wants to participate in such rallies. The administration has to take steps for the betterment of West Bengal.”


Political upheaval in West Bengal as three MLAs switch to BJP

Kolkata, May 28,2019: In what would come as a big blow to Mamata Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday. Additionally, one CPM MLA, one Congress MLA and at least 50 TMC councillors also switched allegiance to the saffron party.

The TMC MLA who crossed over to BJP was Subhranshu Roy - son of BJP leader Mukul Roy who was suspended by TMC for six years for anti-party comments - from Bijpur. Congress' Tushar Kanti Bhattacharjee from Bishnupur and  CPM's Debendra Nath Roy from Hemtabad joined the party. They were welcomed to the party by BJP general secretary and party in-charge for West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya. "This is only the start. PM Narendra Modi had said during campaigning that many MLAs from TMC had reached out to us. TMC had denied this but today, you can see what the state of the party is. This is a result of what Mamata has done in West Bengal. " he said. "Like the elections were held in seven phases in West Bengal, joinings in BJP will also happen in seven phases. Today was just the first phase."

Vijayvargiya also said that there are many from TMC who have expressed their interest to join the BJP but not everyone would be selected. "There are many people who feel suffocated in TMC and have been reaching out to us. It is not our fault. We will have a selection process for them."

Denying accusations from Mamata that BJP is indulging in horse-trading, Roy said that she should introspect rather than point fingers. "TMC has indulged in wide-spread and rampant violence and not many in their party is okay with that. They are coming to us out of their own free will," he said, adding that BJP will register a thumping performance in the Assembly election in West Bengal in 2020.

BJP had no presence in West Bengal till Lok Sabha election 2014 when it won two seats. This year, the party fought a bitter battle against TMC and managed to secure a record 18 seats in Lok Sabha election 2019. Several party leaders have since said that TMC is like a singking ship and that people of West Bengal will teach them a lesson.