Mamata to MLAs: Don’t cede an inch to BJP, apologise to peoplehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/mamata-to-mlas-dont-cede-an-inch-to-bjp-apologise-to-people-5825863/

Mamata to MLAs: Don’t cede an inch to BJP, apologise to people

At a meeting of party MLAs — her first since the Lok Sabha polls in which the BJP won 18 of the 42 seats in the state — Mamata told them to gear up for the Assembly elections in 2021 and exuded confidence that her party will regain power for the third time.

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI/File)

Stung by BJP’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and defections in her party, Trinamool Congress chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday directed her party MLAs to not “leave an inch of space to the BJP”, and asked them to be more humble to people and apologise for the mistakes committed in the past.

At a meeting of her party MLAs — her first since the Lok Sabha polls in which the BJP won 18 of the 42 seats in the state, just four less than the TMC — Mamata told them to gear up for the Assembly elections, which is just two years away, and exuded confidence that her party will regain power in the state for the third consecutive time.

“Our party supremo has asked all MLAs to be more humble and reach out to the masses. She has also asked us that if needed the MLAs should apologize for their mistakes committed in the past,” a TMC MLA said.

“She has asked party leaders to not leave an inch of space to the BJP. She said that political programmes will have to be organised in each of the 294 constituencies to counter the BJP. She also directed the MLAs to remain in their areas and not visit Kolkata frequently. She has asked them to form four-member teams in every area to remain updated about political developments,” another party leader who attended the meeting said.

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The four-member team would comprise two booth-level workers, one social media activist and a district level functionary, the TMC leader said quoting the CM.

“The party will prepare a data base of such team members with their photos and telephone numbers. The party higher-ups will directly get in touch with the team to learn about new developments in the constituency, including public grievances and misgivings of the voters,” the MLA added.

Political strategist Prashant Kishor was also present in the meeting for a brief period. Sources said that ahead of the meeting, Kishor met Mamata and her nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee.

Quoting sources, PTI reported that Mamata admonished some of the senior MLAs for making statements which did not go down well with the people during the Lok Sabha elections. She asked party leaders to introspect, and rebuked a section of them for the TMC’s poor performance in the elections, a source said.

The TMC chief also accused a few leaders of not working properly in their areas and for being “keen on taking illegal commission” (cut money) from people to provide benefits under government schemes.

Earlier in the day, Mamata said that her government will come up with a scheme to help students in Kolkata avail her government’s Kanyashree Scheme. “Today’s students are our future. They will shape the society in the days to come. Bengal’s talent is universal and eternal. One will find talented people from Bangla all over the world,” she said at an event to celebrate 100 years of Beltala Girl’s High School.

The CM also emphasised that there should be classes on humanity and positive thinking in schools.

“Apart from the regular subjects, I think there needs to be classes on values, humanity, honesty and transparency. Instead of violence and negativity, positive thinking should be encouraged,” the Chief Minister said.

—With PTI Inputs