With a little over a week for Jangalmahal to go to polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday reminded the people of Maoist violence during the Left Front rule, and claimed that a new history was being written for the tribal area under the Trinamool Congress government.
Assuming the role of the “saviour” of Jangalmahal and the “giver of revolution” during an election rally at Silda in Binpur constituency, Mamata said peace has returned to the area and warned the people that the region would again witness unrest if CPM returned to power.
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“If you allow CPM to return to power, violence will again hit Jangalmahal (former Maoist stronghold in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts). The area had hit the headlines for bloodshed during the Left Front rule,” Mamata said.
On the second day of her campaign in the district, Mamata arrived in a helicopter amid hundreds of people and was welcomed by performances by young tribal girls of the area. In a 7-minute introduction, she was bestowed by epithets such as ‘Mukti Data’ (saviour), ‘Jangalmahaler kranti data’ (giver of revolution to Jangalmahal), ‘Jan Netri’ (leader of the people) and ‘Banglar Agni Kanya’ (Bengal’s daughter of fire).
Addressing the rally, the CM claimed that since the Trinamool government came, there had been an all-round development of Jangalmahal region while Left Wing Extremism had also been contained. “Silda was in the headlines of all newspapers after a CRPF camp here was attacked by Maoists. From 2010 to 2011, almost 400 people died. But we brought people’s attention to Jangalmahal… earlier young boys would not go out in fear of being picked up as suspected Maoists. Today they play football and earn respect.”
Listing development work undertaken by her government in the area, Mamata said, “Now peace has been restored in the area and people are living in harmony. They are getting rice at Rs 2 per kilo. Girls are getting cycles to go to school. We have also set up schools, hospitals and started a pension scheme for the old.”
Mamata said that being jealous of the development work done by her government, CPM and Congress have resorted to a smear campaign against her party. She dared them to fight her politically. Criticising the BJP, she said the party was always looking for an opportunity to foment a riot.
Reaching out to the voters in Alchiki (language of the tribals), Mamata said her party had brought out the election manifesto in that language too. She continued to campaign in other areas of West Midnapore district, following a similar pattern — consistent reminders of the government’s achievements followed by the reiteration of the ‘Mamata myth’.