The Trinamool Congress is planning a massive drive to woo back the rural populace,having realised that farmer suicides and poor performance in paddy procurement have dented the image of the Ma Mati Manush government ahead of the panchayat polls.
Senior Trinamool leaders said that district leaders have been instructed to launch a campaign to highlight the initiatives of the state government for farmers,who were neglected in the Left regime.
The damage control drive comes at a time when the CPM and a section of intellectuals who were considered pro-Trinamool during the Left regime are criticising the state government for its insensitivity towards farmers. Under fire from the Opposition,the chief minister herself is now touring districts to distribute Kisan Credit Cards to enable farmers to get bank loans.
Mamata Banerjee is learnt to have instructed the party rank and file to highlight what she calls the pro-farmer policy of the state government. The district leaders have been told to inform farmers that the government has distributed Kisan Credit Cards to 6 lakh farmers. In the current edition of Trinamool mouthpiece Jago Bangla,the labour minister wrote an article outlining the governments initiatives to improve the farmers standard of living.
Party activists have been instructed to tell the rural masses that the Trinamool-led government had decided to observe Krishak Diwas on March 14 not only to pay respect to the farmers who laid down their lives in the fight against the oppressive Left front but also to drive home the message that the government was committed to protect the interest of the farmers.
The state government has also introduced Krishi Ratna award for farmers in each block the first time the state government is giving away such prizes. Party activists have been instructed to campaign on the states initiatives to provide crop insurance to farmers and setting up Seed Mission under which quality seeds of vegetables would be supplied to the farmers.
A minister said,The state government has intensified vigil to stop black marketing of fertilizers. Measures like cancellation of dealers involved in illegal fertilizer trade will ensure that farmers get fertilizers at prices below MRP. Farmers Producers Organisations will be set up in 500 most backward areas to sell commodities with financial help from the state. The government has announced a bonus for those involved in jute production. It has also decided to set up an Agriculture Marketing Board Limited and cold storages to enable farmers store their produce.