In an indirect attack on the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that an atmosphere of religious and political intolerance prevailed in the country.
While addressing a public meeting in Jamboni, West Midnapore, she said, “The entire country is witnessing religious and political intolerance. In Bengal we do not believe in this. We follow what people like Ramkrishna and Vivekananda said.
“We will not tolerate any kind of communal division. In Bengal, we don’t discriminate among people according to their religion. Five years ago, people in Jangalmahal were living in terror. Tides have turned..smiles have replaced tears,” she added.
Stating that Bengal will not tolerate politics of communalism and riots, Mamata said she took pride in the fact that “only Bengal can celebrate both Durga Puja and Muharram harmoniously”. The chief minister pledged to take the state to new heights of glory.
Accusing the Central government of giving Bengal step-motherly treatment, she said, “My government is working for the development of the state, but the Centre takes away our revenue to pay off debts incurred by the previous government.”
On the alleged suicide of ex-serviceman Ram Kishen Grewal over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, Mamata condemned Wednesday’s detention of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, saying that it was an unprecedented event. Earlier, she had tweeted that her party did not believe in the “encounter theory” regarding the killings of eight alleged SIMI activists who broke out of jail in Bhopal earlier this week, and had called it a “political vendetta”.
Mamata also had a word of caution for party workers and bureaucrats. “I work for people throughout the year and I believe there should not be any compromise with work. Party workers and bureaucrats should remember that there is no place for petty politics. If one is not ready to work for people, there is no place for that person in TMC,” she said.
The chief minister said that Jhargram (now a sub-division under West Midnapore district) would soon be made a full-fledged district.
“Jhargram will soon become a new district. We are waiting for judicial clearances. We are redefining tourism in Jhargram. Earlier, people were scared to come to these places,” she said, adding that a “smiling Jangalmahal” was her biggest achievement.
Simultaneously, Asansol and Kalimpong would also be carved out from Burdwan and Darjeeling districts respectively as full-fledged districts for better administration and implementation of various development programmes.
The tribal development ministry would soon form a development board for the welfare of people in Jangalmahal, Mamata said, adding that the government had initiated a major irrigation project for the districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore.
The chief minister said that she had instructed the forest department to look into the problems faced by locals due to straying elephants from Dalma range in Jharkhand.
At the meeting, Mamata distributed bicycles under Sabuj Sathi programme among students and laid the foundation stones for some other projects.
She said that the fear among people of Jangalmahal had been replaced with smiles during her regime, and that it has been one of the biggest achievements of the TMC government in the last five years.